PS29 Construction

Update 04.22.2012

Posted by: admin on: April 22, 2012

Asbestos abatement on the exterior of the windows (caulk, lintels, flashing) is set to start Monday evening at 6:30, once everyone is out of the building. Any asbestos abatement that is being done on this project will take place AFTER school hours (which includes Kids Club) when no one is in the building– staff and students.

The work will be paused Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Night due to the state testing which is scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Melanie is requesting SCA stop abatement on Monday (in addition to lobbying for them to stop it completely until summer) so that we have the opportunity to meet with them on Thursday evening again at the PTA meeting.

PTA meeting is 7pm Thursday, April 26. Pizza and childcare will be provided.

This morning a parent sent the following email to the PTA Co-President. It sums up the concerns of all and our response:

PARENT QUESTION: Asbestos is really serious. Should we as parents be concerned? I am concerned and wondering if I should send my son to school this week. Can you please send us an update and let us know when the Asbestos removal will be finished so we can send our children back to school.

QUICK ANSWER: No one at the school is in a position to say unequivocally whether it is safe to go to school during this abatement process or not. We are not abatement experts or air-quality monitors. This will have to be a personal decision by each family. A fuller, detailed description of the abatement process from the SCA, including the testing process that determines if it’s safe to return to school, would be a helpful tool in this decision-making process and has been requested as detailed below also (see ‘Asbestos Information’ section on this site).

SCA RESPONSE: According to SCA it is safe for children to be at school. (See responses to our questions by Yvette Knight, Project Support Manager for SCA in this pdf  YVETTES-RESPONSES-1). They say they will be following NY DEP regulations (which are 100+ pages long), that the air will be tested 3 times after the abatement in order for a certificate of occupancy to be issued. That appears to give them 4.5 hours (6:30pm-11pm) to get site protection, abatement, cleaning, and air testing accomplished, at least as far as we can imagine. They have informed Melanie that she will receive a FAX each morning letting her know if occupancy is determined to be safe.

 

POSSIBLE ACTION/ACTIONS ALREADY TAKEN:

Requests For Info:

Actions Taken: We have repeatedly asked SCA to give us a full-scale description of all they are doing. We have asked DOE officials, School Chancellor officials, and so on, to ask for more info from SCA.

Results: Very few results. Nowhere in the “scope” document that we were given two months ago that details the general extent of the job does it mention that asbestos will be abated from every window in the school.

 

Requests to stop the job in general, to stop the “raking” work until summer, to stop the asbestos abatement until summer

Actions Taken: We have, from the beginning, MULTIPLE TIMES in every possible way, asked the SCA to give us more info, to take more safety precautions, to stop the raking until summer, and now, starting last week, to stop asbestos abatement until summer. Melanie has spoken to the Deputy School’s Chancellor, to local elected officials, to ask for support on this, as well. Many individuals have pressed their own connections in every direction to help.

Results: SCA has agreed to stop the raking work until a later date, and agreed to many additional dust-cleanup measures. They have refused to delay the asbestos abatement. Parent Julian Stysis reports on a conversation that he had with an SCA project manager that they plan only to stop the raking on the schoolyard side of the building. This does not square with what SCA promised Melanie last Thursday. Someone will need to follow-up on this.

 

POLITICIANS:

Actions Taken: Melanie and members of the construction committee and many individuals have been in touch again and again with the office of Brad Lander, Christine Quinn, Marty Markowitz, Mayor Bloomberg, and Daniel Squadron.

Results: Every time the answer is they can’t get SCA to stop the job, delay it until summer, etc…Essentially, SCA’s argument is that they are doing 1,000-1,400 school construction jobs at any given time and they can’t afford for a precedent to be set that an activist parent body or school admin is able to dictate the terms or timing of their job.

PRESS/DIRECT ACTION Calling the press, organizing protests or groups, calling 311, emailing Yvette Knight directly (yknight@nycsca.org) are all possible routes to go and a personal decision.

 

PS 29 parent Michael Berman has begun a petition to for a stop-work order: http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-michael-bloomberg-issue-stop-work-order-at-ps-29-guarantee-air-safety-in-all-nyc-schools

While everyone has their right to contact the press and make organized protest, please consider that we are trying to retain a collaborative relationship with the SCA so that they continue to consider our demands.  What we really need to do is make reasonable and intelligent requests backed up by research, so that we can be as effective as possible.

 

Who is the construction committee?

The construction committee was initially formed to try to understand the project, pool questions, get answers, and communicate them. It consisted of a group of concerned parents, many in the construction, architecture and legal fields. After a couple of meetings it was down to about 4 parents. As the dust-making work started, a whole new group of parents came forward out of concern for that issue. The committee is a fluid group that is constantly changing. Anyone is welcome to join. But the meetings will be useless if they are simply weekly complaint sessions. Please come if you are willing to take on a job. We will detail the subcommittees that have formed to work on specific areas, and people can join forces if they like.

There will be a PTA meeting on Thursday night which the SCA will attend. Please attend to get more info.

Please address all questions for the committee to construction.ps29brooklyn@gmail.com

 

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