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Kingston Schools Undergo Renovations, Asbestos Removal


Construction workers renovating the former Sophie Finn Elementary School have run into “unanticipated asbestos” issues. Work on the future site of a satellite campus for Ulster County Community College will require additional money in order to complete the project.

According to an article in Daily Freeman News, officials are asking for $83,720 in bonds to safely complete the asbestos removal and to design a “green infrastructure” for the building. The building closed at the end of the 2013 school year.

The county borrowed $366,085 to purchase the school and the surrounding acreage. The new Kingston Center will replace the Ulster County Business Resource Center making it convenient for Kingston High students to take college level classes. Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

High School Also Undergoing Renovations

Kingston High School, which is in front  of the site, is embarking on a $137.5 million renovation. The school that is nearly 100-years-old will soon be undergoing major work to replace the crumbling infrastructure. Kingston school district Superintendent Paul Padalino reports that electrical systems and heating system are obsolete, and they are faced with brownouts and breakdowns of the boilers.

On the Kingston High School Project website, the project is described as follows:

“The Kingston High School Second Century Capital Plan is designed as a comprehensive and historic re-imagining of the Kingston High School campus. The project is intended to create a healthy and safe 21st century learning environment for students and to revitalize Midtown Kingston by creating an educational corridor, flanked by the Carnegie Learning Center to the left and SUNY Ulster to the right, in the heart of the city.”

The website also has a page dedicated to addressing asbestos concerns. The management and handling of asbestos is highly regulated. According to the site, the New York State Department of Labor requires the training of workers who handle asbestos, specifies work practices during asbestos abatement projects, and requires licensing of asbestos abatement contractors.

Managing Asbestos in Schools

Asbestos may be found in houses, schools and other structures built prior to the mid-1970s. Asbestos-containing products were used in construction materials including roofing materials, ceiling tiles and insulation. Under requirements set forth by the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) these asbestos-containing materials in schools must be managed in an undamaged and non-friable condition.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that asbestos-containing materials, with few exceptions, are not currently banned in the United States and are still “managed-in-place” in schools.

Asbestos is a carcinogen and even small amounts of asbestos and infrequent exposure can create a risk for contracting mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. Approximately 3,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with the cancer.


If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma , let the New York top rated asbestos lawyers at Belluck & Fox, LLP work for you and your family.  We also have locations at Albany, Rochester and Woodstock that you can visit today.

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