The administration of the Bourne (Massachusetts) School District says that ongoing asbestos abatement work at the long-neglected Peebles Elementary School has now made the school “safer than ever”, a fact that has parents in the district breathing a huge – and clean – sigh of relief.
An article in the Bourne Courier profiles the efforts of the local school district to get the elementary school back in shape after a former administration did little to address the concerns of the parents, who have had lingering issues about the air quality in the school, which was built in the 1950s with help from the federal government.
“The school is in its best condition in recent years…,” Lamarche said over the long holiday break. “We’ve cleaned the vents and changed the filters. And we’ll do that three times a year with the seasonal changes. And we’ve made sure fresh air comes to the classrooms.”
LaMarche adds that all areas of the school where asbestos materials are present – including tiles – have been tested and that glazing on all windows (except the annex) has been encapsulated, preventing the release of fibers and the potential of asbestos exposure. LaMarche also proclaimed the annex to be safe, noting that the asbestos materials in that area – which includes floor tiles, pipe insulation, and insulation in the closets – are not fibrous. The superintendent also outlined a Phase III plan for asbestos abatement, which includes replacing all cracked, chipped, and loose floor tiles.
“Attention to asbestos-abatement imperatives were not carried out in the prior administration,” the article notes, so the current administration is determined to answer the pleas of parents by seeing this project through to the end.
“We didn’t try to just do the minimum,” said Business Services Manager Edward Donoghue. “We made sure we set out to cover everything. We had a contractor come in to check everything. We had to go to a second and third contractor, and we’ve had an industrial hygienist on the project entirely.” Monthly inspections by the hygienist will continue into the spring, Donoghue confirmed.
He understands, however, if parents continue to be worried. After all, it takes decades for asbestos diseases like mesothelioma cancer to appear, so there’s still the possibility that students could be diagnosed with such diseases later in life due to the neglect shown by past school district administrators.