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Asbestos discovery adds $70,000 to Carnegie Elementary project

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Contractors renovating Carnegie Elementary School ran into a hiccup last week when they discovered asbestos on top of the ceiling, which caused the Carlynton School Board to approve just over $70,000 in repair costs.

The asbestos debris was found above and on top of the ceiling tiles in the basement and first floor of the school during scheduled renovations that include the installation of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, equipment.

Jon Thomas, of Thomas & Williamson Project Management, which is overseeing the contracting work for the school, said teachers and students never were exposed to the asbestos.

“It's not in the airstream,” he said. “All the air is circulating below the ceiling.”

He said the hazard was to the contractors, who are unable to go in and complete the work until the asbestos is abated.

The board approved an additional $27,850 to remove asbestos debris found on top of the ceilings in the basement and first floor. The board also approved $42,400 to remove asbestos found in three areas during installation of the new HVAC equipment.

The funding for the work will come from a type of contingency fund, he said.

“When we go into projects like this, we set money aside to deal with these unforeseen things,” Thomas said. “While we say it's unforeseen, we know we're going to run into some of this. It's just not quantified at the time.”

Schools must be tested every three years for asbestos, but, Thomas said, tests don't always include concealed spaces — such as above ceiling tiles.

Thomas said that while the newly found asbestos does create a small bump in the road, it will not delay progress on the renovations, as contractors are able to work in other areas while the asbestos is abated.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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