Asbestos was discovered at Hinsdale Central last week, but school
administration said in a notice on the school’s website that the carcinogenic
material “is undisturbed and confined” and its removal next month will not
cause it to be exposed to students or staff.
Director of buildings and grounds Pat Hurley said the asbestos was found by contractors in the area of the school’s gymnasium lobby, concession stand, and athletic locker rooms Thursday and was confirmed on Friday, the first day of school for all Hinsdale Central students.
“The gymnasium concessions stand and ticket booth, where asbestos was discovered, have been and continue to be a restricted area,” the administration's notice reads. “The asbestos discovered in Athletic Locker Room A is undisturbed and is not a hazard to students, staff, or visitors.”
The locker room in question is the smallest of three athletic locker rooms in the school's basement, Hurley said. It is not a locker room used by either male or female physical education students, and is in fact locked during school hours.
Hurley said the asbestos was discovered above the locker room, which is below the concession area where improvements are being made. It was also found behind walls in the concession area.
Removal of the asbestos will take place between Sept. 9 and Sept. 12. The locker room will be closed as a result on Sept. 10. Environmental Services, Inc., will oversee the removal by Environmental Hazard Control Industry Incorporated, a local firm that has completed “numerous projects” for the district over the last 27 years.
The online notice says that asbestos abatement is common in a building of Hinsdale Central’s age and that students and staff are not in danger of being exposed.
“The asbestos discovered in the construction areas are undisturbed, will be restricted during the abatement, and will be handled with care according to all environmental rules and procedures by a licensed contractor,” the notice reads.
The concession stand improvements at Hinsdale Central are among the summer projects that began only last week, according to Hurley, after the District 86 Board of Education canceled projects approved by the old board in April and rebid them this summer with a new scope.
Hurley said that this is not the first time asbestos, which is typically found during the demolition phase at the outset of construction projects, will be removed from Hinsdale Central during the school year, but it is not a frequent occurrence.
The buildings and grounds director said most of the asbestos in Hinsdale Central has been removed.
"We've been working steadily on this for 20 years," Hurley said.
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