Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Asbestos inspection report

At yesterday's public hearing, PURE discussed the results of a plaster inspection at three Pittsburgh public schools. The complete discussion is at the bottom portion of this page: http://www.purereform.com/test_091409.html

PURE noted that

'The report shows numerous areas of plaster damage in these schools. In 30 to 40 classrooms at each school, there was an area of damaged plaster where repair was listed as a “high priority”'

and called for an evaluation by an independent expert of the risks and relative condition of the plaster in these schools and the Schenley building.

1 comment:

Questioner said...

At the Agenda Review on 9/16 (televised and also available on the district website), a contract for Kimball to perform environmental services at schools with asbestos plaster was discussed.

One board member noted that according to former district employees, the situation at the other asbestos plaster schools was the same as at Schenley and called for a definitive answer on this issue. He cautioned that investigation may show that the decision on Schenley was a hasty one.

An administration representative asserted that students would not be sent into the currently open asbestos plaster buildings if safety was a concern, and that there are empty buildings that could be used just by moving some furniture.

However, while one side of the issue is whether safety is a concern at the other buildings, the other side of the issue is whether, room for room, safety issues were any greater at Schenley than at the other buildings.

No explanation was given as to why 2 pieces of plaster falling at a school the size of Schenley would lead to cancellation of summer school, while pieces of plaster can and have fallen at the other schools but those schools remain open. Or as to why there was then a major and expensive abatement project to address virtually every plaster bubble and even damage behind radiators at Schenley, but this same type of abatement is not being done at the other buildings.

If buildings without asbestos plaster are available as alternatives to Miller, Vann, Woolslair and Manchester, why not use them rather than taking any risk at all? Or, if the risk of asbestos plaster is manageable (and thousands of schools, churches and government buildings across the country do manage this type of risk), why not revisit the Schenley building? The Schenley location might be just what the university prep school needs to attract students. It could also be a great central location for the IB school, or permit the sci tech school to expand and retain students in the PPS system rather than turning them away due to its small size.