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May 23, 2018


5/15/2018 12:50:00 PM
City School Board Addresses Asbestos Concerns At CHS
JEROME JOHNSON
Local News Editor

The Covington City School Board revisited discussions on the lingering issue of asbestos at Covington High School during Monday night’s meeting.

During old business, school board member Eddy Clemons requested Superinendent Melinda Snead-Johnson provide an update on the current asbestos situation at CHS.

Snead-Johnson stated that Wes Hambrick of Environmental Specialties, LLC, of Winchester, Ky., recently completed a walk-through of CHS along with Principal Derek Cantrell and Maintenance Super-visor Shane Reid.

Hambrick has been the long-time asbestos consultant for the Covington City School System.

The walk-through they conducted covered the known asbestos sites at CHS.

Following the inspection, they all met with Snead-Johnson at the School Board Office.

“He [Hambrick] discussed the known areas at CHS where asbestos remains and recommended that the most highly trafficked areas in the building that should be addressed first would be the two main multi-story stairwells in the old building,” Snead-Johnson said.

Snead-Johnson then broke down the financing it would take to address the asbestos at CHS.

She stated to take care of one stairwell (three levels and foyer) would be a budget price of $20,000.

She also said that it would be a budgeted price of $35,000 to take care of the east and west end of the hall.

These budgeted prices came from a recommendation by Hambrick to make the two stairwells and foyers first priority for asbestos removal.

A second set of finances was then given. They pertained to the fee for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act project design, project monitoring and final Transmission Electron Microscopy clearance.

Under these financial guidelines, the budget price to remove asbestos from one stairwell and foyer is $8,000, while two stairwells and foyers is at a budgeted price of $15,000.

The price estimates that were discussed Monday provided a breakdown on how to complete the project in one year or break it up into two years.

Snead-Johnson stated that Hambrick will return during the summer and complete a two- to three-day walk-through of CHS with Reid to make a comprehensive report of the asbestos remaining in CHS.

Following that visit, a meeting with the school board would be held and an update of the findings would be provided.

In Hambrick’s letter to Snead-Johnson, it was said that to start the work this summer, actions would need to be taken quickly to advertise the project, complete the bidding process and select a contractor to do the work and have them give the required 20-day notice.

Later in the asbestos discussion, Clemons asked, “Does he have on record everywhere that asbestos is down there [CHS]?”

“Yes he does. Mr. Cantrell walked around with him [Hambrick]. There are layouts of where the asbestos is. He says he’s known about it since the renovation of 1989-1990. He does know where the asbestos is,” Snead-Johnson responded.

Snead-Johnson then said she had no knowledge of why action has not been taken sooner on this issue.

Clemons cited miscommunication on the part of Hambrick as to why the asbestos removal has not moved forward.

Snead-Johnson assured Clemons that she would not let lack of communication be a problem anymore.

After a motion was made by Clemons and was seconded by fellow school board member Nicole Kellison, a majority vote was made to start the process to seek out a contractor that could perform the asbestos removal, provided funding was available.

“We’re good at finding money. We’ll find the money. It needs to happen; it needs to be a high priority,” Clemons said.

The following items were discussed and voted to be approved during Monday’s meeting:

— An appropriation of $35,186 into the 2017-2018 budget for textbook funds;

— Textbook adoption: 4260C — Earth Science II (Astronomy);

— Covington High School Field Trips (GearUp Virginia): Washington, D.C., July 15-18 for NCCEP Leadership Conference and July 15-20 for the Washington Scholars Program.





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