Asbestos work increases cost of school gym floor
The Haines Borough School District is seeking an additional $250,000 from the State of Alaska for the high school gym floor replacement project, owing to a recent $130,000 estimate for asbestos abatement.
The district received $250,000 for the project last year.
The asbestos is contained in the glue that attaches the playing court’s maple flooring tiles to a cork subfloor, superintendent Michael Byer said this week. The cost of asbestos work wasn’t known when the district sought initial funds for the project, Byer said.
Byer said the $120,000 remainder of the $250,000 request would go toward new bleachers. The current bleachers have a high, first step that some spectators at basketball games have fallen from, he said.
Besides cut-outs for wheelchairs, new bleachers feature a central aisle with steps that makes bleachers easier to ascend, he said. New bleachers would cost about $100,000.
The floor is being replaced to add a new, spring-like subfloor intended to reduce injuries from falls. Because asbestos-laden glue is attached to it, the maple flooring is not re-usable, Byer said.
Former high school principal Gary Matthews said the bleachers date to the late 1980s. The maple flooring is original and dates to gym construction in 1973, Matthews said.
In the 1980s, the floor was repaired twice due to water flooding issues stemming once from water in roof drains and once from condensation when water in an underground utility corridor contacted steam pipes.
Byer told the school board last week he hoped to start asbestos work immediately following the last day of school, followed by floor replacement work.