Asbestos removal is next on the list for the Bradley County Schools PIE Center renovation.
Established inside the former American Uniform factory, located at 2181 Parker St. N.E., the presence of asbestos in the decades-old facility came as no surprise to Project Manager Corbett Drew, who gave an update on the Partnerships in Industry and Education (PIE) Center during the Board of Education meeting on Thursday.
Located in the future STEM School portion of the PIE Center, 22,000 square-feet of linoleum and 8,500 square-feet of tile must be removed, and a pre-bid has already seen the responses of seven contractors, Drew said.
He said the removal of asbestos will require an abatement of around $50,000. Drew noted the board has allotted $100,000 for abatements on the project.
Once the asbestos is cleared, a third-party company will inspect the project and provide a letter of clearance for construction to move forward. Drew said the Tennessee Department of Education will not allow the building to be occupied as a school without a letter of clearance deeming it environmentally safe.
Drew said he has requested two bids from contractors, one indicating the cost of the project and an alternate bid projecting the cost of having it removed by July 31.
He said he’s willing to negotiate paying a “premium” to have the asbestos out by the end of the month, but said if the cost is too high they will consider other options.
Drew and the board ultimately want the asbestos out by the scheduled groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 4.
During the last board meeting, Aug. 4 was determined as the long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony for the PIE Center. Cash announced invitations would go out soon, limiting guests at the in-person ceremony to 50 while also live-streaming the event.
On the paperwork side, Drew said progress at the PIE Center is about to pick up.
Drew told the board “the wheels are about to start turning” at the future CTE school. He said construction paperwork has been completed a week ahead of schedule, allowing the team another full week to review the documents for “quality control.”
Drew said a head contractor has been on-site at the PIE Center and made suggestions for alternate materials that could capture the district up to $350,000 in savings, so long as the changes are up to code with the city.
Drew said similar conversations will be had once sub-contractors are brought on in August.
Bradley County Schools may have to “make some concessions” in order for the Black Fox and North Lee Elementary School projects to finish on time, according to Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash.
Crews at the two elementary schools broke ground in February to build four new classrooms, two new bathrooms and additional storage space to the expanding elementary schools. The project at North Lee has been met with little to no hurdles, but the addition at Black Fox was interrupted by heavy rain in February that has made it difficult to catch up since.
“Between weather delays and site issues at Black Fox, we’re pushing to get it done,” Cash said during the recent Board of Education meeting.
While North Lee Elementary School’s new classrooms are due to finish on time, the coronavirus pandemic has interrupted supply chains and made it difficult for the district to obtain materials needed for the project. Despite this, Cash said bathroom fixtures, lights and finishing selections are to be installed in the next two weeks.
Cash said once North Lee is completed, crews can add to the labor force at Black Fox to push the project forward.
“We may have to make some concessions to just get it to occupancy while crews keep working,” Cash told the board.
Board Chairman Troy Weathers inquired on the contingency budget, and Finance Director Susan Wilcutt said they were “close to $100,000” and are expected to remain under budget, but architect fees may change that.
The district is pushing to have the project finished by the first day of school on Aug. 5.