Asbestos pulled from school

Work crews will be busy removing asbestos from the old Coupeville High School building for the next couple of weeks.

The hazardous material removal was something expected by school officials and the work was scheduled into the demolition of the building when the material was discovered last year.

“We knew we had asbestos in the building 12 months ago,” said Gary Goltz, construction manager for the Coupeville School District, emphasizing that the hazardous material removal does not constitute a delay in the demolition timetable.

The school district performed a survey of the rundown high school during spring break 2006. The $180,000 cost for asbestos abatement was approved in August 2006, Goltz said.

Asbestos is in the school’s floor tile and underneath the building. Goltz said the material underneath the building is more problematic because asbestos has fallen off the building’s pipes and mixed in with the soil. The soil also has to be removed before building demolition can proceed.

Asbestos, once commonly used as insulation, has been linked to health problems. Breathing in asbestos particles increases the likelihood of contracting a variety of afflictions including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Workers started the asbestos removal last week and they are expected to finish in the middle of July. Once that work is complete, demolition of the high school will continue.

Workers have already torn up the parking lot next to South Main Street and demolished the old vo-tech building, Goltz said.

Once the main high school building is demolished, work will begin on a courtyard. The courtyard walkway will be composed of bricks salvaged from the old high school.

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