Asbestos in Wichita Building Causes Stir

The demolition of the Coleman Building located in downtown Wichita, Kansas has caused quite a stir among local politicians.  The City purchased the property to create a parking lot for the Intrust Bank Arena.  At the heart of the matter is the discovery of asbestos in 65,000 square feet of roofing materials that will tack on an additional $120,000 to the cost of the project.  Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau is now questioning why the building was not tested for asbestos prior to the purchase. 

Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, is known to cause health problems including mesothelioma and asbestosis.  Prior to the public awareness regarding asbestos exposure and its adverse health effects, asbestos was added to various building materials for its resistance to fire, heat, friction, electrical, and chemical damage.

Assistant County Manager Ron Holt has said that, prior to the sale, Coleman building officials confirmed that they had removed asbestos in the past and there was no observable asbestos remaining.  However, they said that they could not guarantee that all asbestos had been removed from the propety.  Holt added that the county forwent asbestos testing because they were getting the Coleman Building for $600,000 when it had originally been listed at $1.8 million.  In addition, it was integral to the City’s plan to provide parking for the arena.

The discovery of the asbestos, which requires specialized removal and disposal due to its hazardous nature, will bring the total cost of the project to more than $1.1 million.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with mesothelioma, a mesothelioma attorney may be able to help.