Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Unforeseen Costs for CUSD Performing Arts Center?

"The department requires school agencies planning to build on places with naturally occurring asbestos to have detailed plans for making sure students don't come into contact with the substance."


"The EPA says it worries more about exposure of children to asbestos because they will live long enough to feel the effects, since asbestos-related diseases often take 30 years or more to develop."
Future School Site Raises Asbestos Fears
Dana M. Nichols, Record Staff Writer, May 11, 2007 12:00 A

  • On Tuesday Aug. 6, 2013 the CUSD School Board voted in favor of moving ahead with the proposed design and construction of a Performing Arts Center. 
  • The bond monies allotted for the PAC are $3.75 to 4.1 million. 
  •  It has been discussed and explained at recent school board meetings that there is no room for unforeseen costs: $750,000 for design (and state approval) and $3 million in construction costs.
  •  In otherwords, it appears the only alternative (if met with cost overruns) would be for CUSD to take  money (to cover the overruns) from it's general fund--or take out a loan. Taking from the general fund would no doubt impact students, teachers, and class sizes.
  • The site designated for construction of the CUSD Performing Arts Center is located in the parking lot across from the entrance to the Calaveras High School sports field and stadium.

    Calaveras High School Parking Lot
    Proposed Site for CUSD Performing Arts Center
    CHS parking lot and remaining concrete slabs
  • A CUSD warehouse facility once occupied this area. The aged facility has been dismantled/removed; concrete slabs now mark the area and are used for parking.
  • At the board meeting Tuesday Aug. 6 Trustee Gustafson voiced concerns about the unforeseen costs that could occur from breaking ground at this CHS site. 
  • A WARNING sign is currently posted next to the CHS stadium and near the entrance to Calaveras High School.
  • The bright yellow sign warns against Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock:
1 of 2 WARNING  Signs posted at Calaveras High School
  • The proposed building site for the CUSD Performing Arts Center is located in the same general area (on the Calaveras High School campus) as the yellow "ASBESTOS CONTAINING SERPENTINE ROCK" warning sign; perhaps 50-70 yards separates the warning sign from the proposed building site. 
  • NOA (Natural Occurring Asbestos) is not new to this area. In 2007 Calaveras County Office of Education had to make major adjustments (and serious precautions) when Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock was discovered at the construction site of Mountain Oaks School:
"As soon as next week, construction crews will be stripping a half-foot or so of asbestos-laden topsoil from a future school site here."

"Before the new joint campus of Mountain Oaks Charter School and Mountain Ranch Community School rises next to Pool Station Road, the native soil will be covered by a tough fabric and that fabric covered with 10,000 cubic yards of clean, imported soil."

"The EPA says it worries more about exposure of children to asbestos because they will live long enough to feel the effects, since asbestos-related diseases often take 30 years or more to develop."

"In the case of the San Andreas school site, the problem is serpentine, the state rock. Veins of the greenish rock are present in a number of places in Calaveras County, including a Highway 49 cut north of San Andreas. Serpentine often contains asbestos. Asbestos is a term that refers to several different kinds of mineral fibers that are flexible and can break apart to become microscopic dust."

"When inhaled, asbestos can cause scarring deep in the lungs and eventually cancer or other diseases. The American Lung Association and federal authorities say there is no safe level of exposure for inhaled asbestos."

"The department requires school agencies planning to build on places with naturally occurring asbestos to have detailed plans for making sure students don't come into contact with the substance."

"In the case of the $10.5 million campus being built here by the Calaveras County Office of Education, the plan includes spraying water during construction to keep down dust, monitoring air and dust at the site, and even cleaning the tires of trucks as they leave so they won't track asbestos dust onto area highways."

"The plan estimates that it will take 20 truckloads per day over five weeks to deliver enough clean soil to cover the school's ball fields and playgrounds."

"Claudia Davis, assistant superintendent for business services for the Calaveras County Office of Education, said naturally occurring asbestos is a fact of life in many parts of Calaveras County. She said her office first detected the asbestos during a visit to the site about a year ago."

"Davis said she doesn't know how much of the $10.5 million total construction cost can be attributed to the asbestos removal and control measures because it was included in the larger construction bid."

*_*_*_*_*_*_*_

Because there is already a noted concern and strong warning signs posted on the CHS campus (pertaining to Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock), the questions below  must be raised:
  • Did CUSD leave enough room in their very narrow Performing Arts Center budget for unforeseen costs like the management of a work site that is found to contain Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock? The cost to manage such a work site can not be minimal; a cost of this nature (not budgeted or factored for) can quite feasible bring a construction project to a halt.
  • The Calaveras County Office of Education had a bid of $10.5 million for the construction of Mountain Oaks School; this price (or bid) appears to have included the management of the Serpentine rock, which they knew about (and budgeted for) prior to construction.
  • Has CUSD tested the soil/ground at the proposed PAC construction site for Serpentine Rock?
  • It was proposed at the Aug. 6 School Board meeting (by the Superintendent) that a Project Manager was not likely to be needed: previous Project Managers had not met their expectations or lacked skillful oversight. Is it prudent or wise to not have a manager with a project of this size and the possible complications of unforeseen issues like Serpentine Rock?
  • There are already 2 signs posted on the CHS campus (near the proposed construction site) warning of Asbestos Containing Serpentine Rock. 
  • One has to assume that great care and diligence will be taken to test the area--prior to any construction or movement of soil or concrete.
  • Has CUSD contacted Calaveras County Environmental Management Agency concerning the proposed PAC construction site and the possible impact of Serpentine Rock?
I am not an expert on enviromental health issues (and don't pretend to be). I am, however, a concerned (taxpaying) citizen, a Special Education teacher, and parent of a Calaveras High School sophmore. 

Resource:

Future School Site Raises Asbestos Fears
Campus latest chapter in ongoing struggle to control exposure to potentially harmful mineral

Record Staff Writer
May 11, 2007 12:00 AM
Dana M. Nichols at (209) 754-9534
dnichols@recordnet.com

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