A survey conducted for the Halton District School Board last November identified 190 locations where asbestos is present in the Robert Bateman School building. The city acquired the property last year and plan to turn it into a community centre at an estimated cost of $80 million. The consultant Arcadis prepared a number of asbestos surveys for the board’s buildings. The report found asbestos in the following locations in the Bateman building:
- Thermal insulation applied to pipe fittings in several areas of the school;
• Fireproofing above ceiling assemblies in several locations of the school;
• Remnant fireproofing (encapsulated and painted red) above ceiling assemblies in several locations in Corridors 1 and 2, and in the Cafeteria area and on a ceiling beam in Room 262;
• Remnant fireproofing (between plaster wall and joist) above ceiling assemblies near the entrances of Rooms 32, 130A and 132B;
• Remnant fireproofing along the south wall of the Drama Room
• Thermal insulation applied to the pipe fittings and joints on the air handling units in Room 301; and
• Thermal insulation applied to pipe fittings in Mechanical Room
A spokesperson said the board did not ask for an estimate of costs for the removal of the asbestos because they already had reached agreement with the City of Burlington to transfer the school to the city. The Bay Observer asked a city of Burlington spokesperson how much of the $80 Million that the Bateman renovations are expected to cost will be used for asbestos removal and were told that will remain confidential as the city invites tenders on the rehabilitation project. The project is slated to go to tender next month.
Originally Lord Elgin School, the bulk of the Bateman building was constructed in 1969 with additions added in 1973 and 2004. Most buildings constructed in the 1960’s and 1970’s contain asbestos. School boards are required by law to order periodic inspections to ensure that asbestos has not come loose, which poses a health hazard.
So, if the School Board did no estimate of costs what did the City of Burlington use as the cost of the asbestos removal and remeiation – and how did they come by that cost. Who performed the cost assessment and where is it contained? There is something very wrong with the fact that, to my knowledge, asbestos removal is not specifically included in any of the Staff Report cost envelopes. Is it part of the $80 million or will it be added later and quietly? There is something quite amiss with the transparency of this project/acquisition and the lack of actual public engagement.
It’s now clear that this asbestos should have been removed years ago.What impact did it have on those attending school or working there?