On August 3, work began on the roof of the Dennis M. Kenney Middle School as part of a construction project approved in January by Hannibal Central School District (HCSD) voters.
The school, located in Hannibal, New York, serves 505 students in grades 6 through 8, and is the only middle school in the district. Like many schools in the nation, it faces the need to renovate aging buildings, not merely to accommodate greater numbers of students but also to prevent buildings from falling into disrepair and presenting a danger to students, teachers and other staff.
This particular repair is aimed at a leaky roof on the older portion of the building, and is estimated to take about three weeks, according to HCSD District Superintendent Michael DiFabio.
The repairs and asbestos abatement will begin with a small, newer section toward the north end of the building, which does not require asbestos abatement. During the second week, however, workers will be doing double shifts on older roof portions for the first six days in order to complete the remediation before students and teachers return to school.
This secondary phase will accomplish asbestos abatement during the first shift, from 1 a.m. through 7 a.m. (Eastern Time), and roof replacement during the second shift, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to DiFabio, this allows the building to remain watertight during the remediation and repair.
Fabio has assured nearby residents that every effort will be made, during the pre-dawn hours, to keep lighting glare to a minimum and reduce the noise from the generator being used to run the lighting.
Asbestos remediation in older school buildings is often done during the summer months because this insures the safety of students and faculty. Improper, accidental or poorly managed asbestos remediation can lead to the spread of asbestos fibers and the potential for a number of asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis, lung and digestive system cancers, and mesothelioma.
Asbestosis is a respiratory disease that usually results from prolonged exposure to asbestos, and causes increased difficulty breathing and general debilitation. Lung and digestive system cancers caused by asbestos fibers are often treatable with either surgery or combination therapies. Mesothelioma, however, is rarely treatable because its long period of dormancy (up to five decades) allows tumors to become so advanced they frequently affect vital organs.
Most patients with advanced mesothelioma are commonly given from a year to 18 months to live.