Asbestos Confirmed at Dixon High

Publication Date 11/12/2010
Source: Daily Gazette (Sterling, IL)

Nov. 12–DIXON — The substance found in the Lancaster gym at Dixon High School is asbestos, officials confirmed Thursday.

The 51-year-old gym, closed since the discovery Monday, will remain off-limits until the problem is solved — however that may be. Air-monitoring devices will be installed.

Other than that, “we are waiting for the experts to tell us what to do,” Superintendent Michael Juenger said. “This is out of our scope and ability as educators. That’s why you bring in experts — to make sure everything is done exactly right.

“We are not going to use the facility until we get it fixed.”

Chips of a spray-on material that covers the steel beams above the weight room were found on the floor Monday, perhaps from some type of old insulation, Juenger said.

Staff alerted financial manager Dave Blackburn, who bagged the material and took it to Aries Consulting in Batavia to be tested.

Its lab representatives visited the school Tuesday and Wednesday, and now a team that includes a structural engineer, an environmental consultant and a risk-management insurance adjuster is working on a remediation plan, Juenger said.

The school district, which was closed Thursday for Veterans Day, won’t be given its options until Tuesday at the earliest, he said.

“Best-case scenario, we’ll be out of Lancaster gym all next week,” Juenger said.

In the meantime, the boys varsity basketball team is practicing in the Reagan Middle School gym. A second gym at the high school, known as the “old” gym, and the gym at the Dixon Armory are available to use.

If deemed an emergency repair, money needed to solve the problem will come out of the district’s operation and maintenance fund, Juenger said.

“They said it’s a small job, 50 man-hours to clean up in both balconies, where the steel beams are,” he said.

Asbestos discovered in floor tiles in Fulton High School’s shop classroom on Oct. 9, 2009, cost the district about $100,000 to clean up.

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