Asbestos in the Schools: Roundup

In Smelterville, Idaho, progress is ongoing on an asbestos removal and demolition project at the Silver King School. The local school board was recently updated on progress on the project, hearing that the school gymnasium was in the process of being demolished and that asbestos removal was 25 to 30 percent complete. Almost all of the interior asbestos-containing material has been removed. The main school building is still intact, as efforts currently are focused on removing the asbestos from the school building and gymnasium in order to make it safe for contractors to proceed with conventional demolition methods.

The asbestos is being removed principally by hand, with gloved workers removing the asbestos insulation from pipes and walls, bagging it, and then transporting it to a secured dump site. Workers estimate that the asbestos removal will be done by the end of July, and that the remainder of the demolition work should proceed on schedule. The entire site should be leveled by the first week of August, and costs are not expected to exceed the original budget approved by the school district. In Reno , Nevada , vandals threw shingles off the roof of Swope Middle School , and may well have exposed themselves to asbestos contamination in the process.

A spokesman for the Washoe County School District says that the asbestos-based roof was in the process of being replaced with asbestos-free materials. The vandals threw several hundred shingles that had already been removed from the roof and onto a neighboring street. The street was already closed for the renovation project. Some of the shingles were broken, meaning that the asbestos fibers could have been inhaled by the vandals. The school district is asking that the vandals turn themselves in so that they can be examined by a doctor.

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