The discovery of asbestos will delay the renovation of the old Madison County Middle School building, but not as long as originally feared.
The central office was initially told there’d be a two-week hold-up which would costs the school system $200,000.
“It started out giving me a heart attack,” Madison County Schools superintendent Dr. Mitch McGhee said at last Tuesday’s school board meeting. “I had a red shirt on that day and (associate superintendent) Mr. McCannon told me he had never seen me that red.”
But the problem is now expected to only slow down the project two-to-three days.
It will cost $41,000 to abate the silicate mineral, known to cause certain cancers.
“That’s much better than $200,000,” McGhee said.
No one was in danger, according to the superintendent, and a professional abatement crew is handling the problem.
Asbestos has been removed from the school system before, McGhee said.
The old MCMS building is being transformed into a hybrid building, one that will house the central office, the Madison County High School Freshmen Academy and the Danielsville Elementary “Colt Academy (grades 4-5).”
Asbestos tile was found beneath carpet while Charles Black construction was working on the ninth grade academy end of the building. The core of the building was constructed in 1956 and layers of flooring have been laid on top of the asbestos tile in the years that have passed.
“We think we’re going to be fine there,” McGhee said. “It was quite a shock.”
McGhee noted that the tile “was not on any report that we have as a school system.”
He explained that the system is audited for asbestos every three years by a firm hired by Northeast Georgia RESA.
“It was not located,” he said. “It was on no history, no documentation.”
As for the construction timeline, it’s been altered, but there doesn’t appear to be any major problems.
“As usual, the Charles Black folks adapted very well and have done a great job,” McGhee said.