Granby " Additional asbestos slows construction at Middle Park High School |

Granby " Additional asbestos slows construction at Middle Park High School

Katie Looby- The East Grand Board of Education and administrators recently toured Middle Park High School's common room, which is under construction.

Unanticipated asbestos at Middle Park High School challenged construction workers and delayed the $9.8 million improvement project at the building this summer, officials say.

Neenan Co., East Grand School District’s general contractor, identified areas in the building where they expected to find asbestos.

“We did our best to point out to them where we thought it might be,” said Todd Dangerfield, Neenan project manager. “Then we got surprised by some areas of VCT (vinyl composition tile) flooring that had it in there that we didn’t think did. We were all surprised when a large area of the commons … needed to be abated.

“You don’t want to ignore it ” definitely not. You have to take the time to safely abate,” he said.

All the asbestos has been removed, said Nancy Karas, East Grand School District superintendent.

“They didn’t do any construction until it was,” she added. “The students were never at risk within the building because it was always contained.”

The district had planned to remove asbestos, Dangerfield said.

“You have to completely encapsulate the area and nobody else can work in there,” he said. “That’s really what has set us back quite a ways.”

Neenan has been expanding the high school by about a third this summer, including installation of six new classrooms, an expanded gymnasium and commons/lunchroom area, relocation of the main office, and auditorium improvements. A November voter-approved bond is funding the project.

The company had 12 weeks to complete the projects, and the unexpected asbestos added two weeks to the expansion, Karas said.

Neenan has about 75 workers at the construction site everyday. This is in a “crunch period,” Dangerfield said.

“Overall we’re about 50 percent done with the whole project,” he said. “We’re concentrating on the remodel areas to get school open.”

Workers will open the classroom wing by November, and double the gymnasium space by the end of December, he said.

Students will notice a “dressed up” commons area where they eat lunch. The flooring will include “really colorful patchwork.” The tables and rest of the room will display the school’s colors. The architect and interior designer “wanted to concentrate on and really spice it up,” Dangerfield said.

“The wow factor in there is huge,” he added.

Skylights in the classroom wing will illuminate areas of the building. “We just feel (natural light) is so good for students and learning,” he said.

Workers will build temporary walls to keep students out of construction zones to ensure their safety and keep “the two populations separate,” Karas said.

” Katie Looby can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or e-mail

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