BOWLING GREEN—The warning sign on the lunchroom door about asbestos removal might have given some people pause, but to the staff of the R-I school campus, it’s a welcome sight.
Superintendent Matt Frederickson was quite happy with the progress workers have been able to accomplish over the summer break with completing projects necessary for the school’s buildings.
Workers had just finished the removal of asbestos tiles from the junior high lunchroom.
“We were waiting on the air quality report from this morning,” he said. “And it came out clean.”
The passing of a school bond earlier this year, the first one in about 50 years, made the funds for the repairs and updates to the school possible.
“We were trying to do some improvements, and there were a lot of things we wanted to improve—one of them was redoing some floors,” Frederickson said.
Asbestos removal is something that has been happening in many buildings that were constructed more than 50 years ago. These types of tiles were used in thousands of buildings; schools and government offices.
Bowling Green R-I, like most older schools, have some asbestos tiles, said Frederickson. “And there is a process you have to follow if you want to remove them and put in some new flooring,” he said. “We have (hired a contractor) that is certified to remove the tiles.” The company is out of Washington, Mo.
They had to do air quality tests before, during and after the removal work.
“They all have come out clean,” he said, “which is good.”
The workers removed quite a lot square footage of asbestos tile, he noted.
It was all part of the school’s plan—safety, security, and sustainable improvements.
“We communicated this to the community,” Frederickson said after the school bond issue passed. He noted that many of the buildings on campus have been there since the ’60s. Because of their age, there were so many things that needed to be addressed, he added.
The flooring is not the only improvement being made. They are also upgrading the fire alarm system and some of the plumbing. The auditorium will be getting some improvements, as well.
Frederickson said one wall in the auditorium had some serious structural problems. Once the flooring was removed, he said, the wall would be replaced and better sound insulation would be added, as well as an upgrade to the stage curtain and lighting.
The school’s entrances are being upgraded for extra security, with lockable vestibules.
“All of our entrances will have that this year,” he said.
“We are also building an enclosed walkway between the old part of the elementary school building to the new one, so the children don’t have to walk outside,” he said.
The fire alarm system had been out of code, and is currently being upgraded by Perkins Electric.
Federal funds, he noted, were paying for technical upgrades to the school’s systems for better access for the students.
“We told the public that we would be substantially completed with all the upgrades after the first of the year—sometime in January,” he said. A lot of the construction being done this year, include the bathrooms, which are being upgraded so that they’re ADA compliant.
Energy efficiency is also a big part of the upgrades. Frederickson said dual-paned glass is being added to help with energy conservation.
“We applied for a grant from Ameren, and got approved, so we will be changing out to LED lighting and using motion detectors” to turn those lights off when there’s no one in the room, he said.
He added that he hopes to upload photos of the improvements fairly soon, to show the public what has been done to their school buildings.
“It will probably happen about the time school starts,” he said.
“It’s exciting to be improving the people’s school house so it will be here for many years to come,” Frederickson said. “And that the childrens’ experiences here will be safer, too.”