Parents, students concerned about asbestos removal at Chapel Hill High School

A closed classroom has led to asbestos fears among students and parents.
October 15, 2013 4:31:52 PM PDT
The health of hundreds of students is under the microscope as Chapel Hill High School is dealing with asbestos and mold.

Mold was removed from this school just last month, which closed its library. Now, old floor tiles are the latest concern. Both are raising questions about one of the school system's oldest buildings.

The latest concerns started when photos started circulating among students at the school.

"The sign on the door showed that asbestos was in the classroom and it could potentially cause cancer and we weren't notified," said parent Robert Johnson.

The photo showed a classroom that was sealed off to students and staff for fear of asbestos contamination. As a precaution, work crews conducted air quality tests that showed no threat to students or staff.

"I think they should notify us more frequently, especially when it comes to asbestos," said Johnson. "They notified us of the mold issue with the library, but they didn't notify of this issue."

The school system said it issues a notice of asbestos containing materials at its schools every year but admits older school buildings like Chapel Hill High have become a problem.

"The current Chapel Hill High opened in 1966. It has become an expensive and challenging facility to sustain, as have many of our older buildings," said the district in a statement. "It is in need of substantial repairs. Our district has recently initiated a community conversation regarding how we will move forward with renovations and increasing student capacity in the coming years."

In the case of Chapel Hill High, it would cost the school system at least $10 million to make a laundry list of repairs, and up to $19 million to make repairs and new additions to the school. It would also cost $47 million to tear down one of its oldest school buildings to make way for a new one.

Meanwhile, asbestos removal will continue on the weekends only, not when students are in school.

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