BEDFORD, N.Y.—While the schools are empty of students this summer, the Bedford Central School District Buildings and Grounds Department is getting an early start on the capital projects included in the district's $122.7 million budget passed last month.
With $1 million in the budget designated for capital projects, the first item on the list is removing ceiling tiles in three different school buildings that had small amounts of asbestos. This project will use around half of that $1 million, according to Thomas Briggs, the district's director of buildings and grounds.
Briggs said any project that requires New York State Education Department approval can be difficult to get started because it sometimes takes a while to get the OK from the state, so the district got lucky.
"They did us a big favor by approving the ceiling tile project,” he said. With approval from the state education department, the project is “on a very fast track.”
This March, the department conducted asbestos testing and identified ceiling tiles that contained traces of asbestos, Briggs said.
Briggs said he had been talking to a colleague about another school district that had run into a problem with asbestos the year before .
“I said, ‘Let’s be proactive,’ because we always try to stay ahead on anything environmental like that, and we tested it and we found it’s a very old-style ceiling tile,” Briggs said.
The project entails switching out the tiles and simultaneously installing new energy-efficient lighting in several small sections of ceiling identified during the testing. Problems were found in three different district buildings: Pound Ridge Elementary School, the district administration office on the Fox Lane campus and Fox Lane High School.
Next on the docket for the department, Briggs said, are two more budget lines for capital projects: a new steam boiler for Mount Kisco Elementary School and a hot water boiler for Bedford Hills Elementary School.
Briggs said since the asbestos project is so time-sensitive, the boiler projects probably will be taken care of at some point during the next school year or early in the summer of 2013.
Compared to the asbestos project, the boiler project is not on the fast track, said Briggs, as the state education department office currently has close to 400 projects to consider for approval.
So, when it comes to the boilers, Briggs said, “we’ll get in the queue on those.”