Kremmling West Grand High School classes canceled until Monday because of fire damage
September 17, 2008
West Grand High students and staff will not return to school until Monday because of developments after a fire at the building last Saturday.S&R Environmental Services tested the school for air quality and found a trace of asbestos in a drywall mud sample, Superintendent Jeff Perry said.The asbestos was found in the schools wood shop where the fire started. S&R did several other tests and did not find it anywhere else. The entire wood shop is sealed off so contamination doesnt spread. The asbestos will be abated by Monday, Perry said.School was canceled today so S &R could conduct one more test, but there is no indication of airborne asbestos in the school, Perry said.Its not a situation that any of the asbestos got into any of the school.The district also hired Dry Pro fire and water damage restoration contractors to clean and neutralize the building and replace ceiling tiles.(Dry Pro) came in and they chemically cleaned virtually every surface to eliminate any kind of smoke damage, Perry said.An investigator traced the fire to a high-voltage power line into a dry transformer unit that supplied power for the wood and metal shops, said West Grand High Principal Philip Bonds.That was part of the original installation of the school, Perry said. That was not a new problem. This has been a problem that originated 30 years ago.Perry feels confident West Grand High School could have opened today.We just want to be safe on everything, he said. We are being overly cautious in terms of making sure everything is safe for our kids and teachers when they come back.The wood shop was not being used this year.We couldnt find anyone who was willing to work the program the hours we needed it being worked, Bonds said.Other rooms not in service include: the welding shop, robotics, social studies, and two computer labs, he said.The insurance company hired someone who specializes in electronics. Computer labs have been dissembled, and equipments being checked to determine if its functional.Classrooms on the north side of the building have light to moderate smoke damage, he said.Welding shop equipment could be stored in the maintenance garage, and classes could be held outside, weather permitting, he said. It will also shift to other locations.The building is fully covered by insurance, Bonds said. By the end of the week they should have an estimate of how much damage was done.Dry Pro has had up to 40 people working in the building. Teachers, custodians and administration have pitched in to help. Its been a pretty phenomenal team effort, Bonds said.Administrators have not decided yet how they will make up the time missed.We really havent crossed that bridge yet, Bonds said. Our first priority has been to get the school reopened.School days could be extended by a couple minutes each or students could come to school on a couple Fridays since they have class only four days a week.The staff was disappointed that school was canceled this week, he added.Im really unhappy that it happened at all, Bonds said. Things could have been a lot worse. Im very, very happy that we didnt have anybody hurt. Kremmling Fire Department responded quickly theyre a class act. They did just an outstanding job. To reach Katie Looby, call 887-3334 ext. 19601 or e-mail email@example.com.