In a high school in Teutopolis, a village in Illinois, asbestos abatement is planned to begin. Yet many parents are concerned about their children’s safety during the construction, due to the fact that the construction will occur while school is in session. 

There is a petition against the start of construction that has 424 signatures. The parents plan on submitting it to the school board on Monday the 13th during the board’s meeting, which starts at 6 pm. 

The abatement project is in the oldest building on the campus, which was built in 1929. The school sent a letter to parents last month about the project. Tina and Jake Thompson, parents of a student at the school, received the letter on December 16. The letter addresses the abatement project. The final board meeting of 2019 was scheduled for December 18. Jake Thompson said that, with only a few days to get answers, “concerned parents sprang into action”. Jake and Tina Thompson are especially concerned since their child is in the band, which is located in the middle of the old structure. Mr. Thompson said that they were told it’s not feasible to move the band. The district has told them there is simply nowhere to move the band to. 

At the meeting, the board was presented with many questions from concerned parents. These questions were about if there is an emergency action plan, air quality, and why the abatement is being done while the school is in session. The questions were then presented at a pre-construction meeting. According to a news release, this project is expected to last six months, with asbestos abatement only being the first part. If it is started early enough, there will be time for the demolition and rebuilding of the older parts of the building. 

No abatement will be done above the band room, but there will be work done below it. Arrangements have also been made to move the study hall to the library. 

What exactly is asbestos? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos is a mineral fiber which occurs in rock and soil. Since asbestos is very strong and heat resistant, it has been used in many things. Most of these things are building materials, like roofing, shingles, tiles, paper and cement products, as well as some things for automobiles, like clutches, brakes and transmission parts. It has even been used in clothing, although not widely. 

Glen Garner is an Environmental Engineer with the Lead and Asbestos compliance program of the Illinois Department of Health. He says that asbestos used to be perceived as a “miracle mineral” before its cancer causing property was widely known. He said that schools are not required to remove asbestos, but are required to keep it in good condition, as asbestos is not a hazard until it is airborne.  

The Illinois Department of Health requires that those who manage or abate asbestos in schools, commercial, or public buildings must be both trained and licensed. Contractors are responsible for the asbestos abatement projects they conduct and must have insurance. The plan which will be followed by the contractor will be enforced by an IDPH licensed third party representative working on the behalf of the district, architect, and Department of Public Health. The plan was also designed by an Illinois Licensed Professional Engineer.

Call us today at (708) 367-3381 to ask about asbestos testing and removal. 

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