District Highlights Building Work at Board Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting
Projects featured include lead paint and plaster stabilization, asbestos abatement
PHILADELPHIA — During the Board of Education’s latest Finance and Facilities Committee meeting on Thursday, the School District of Philadelphia highlighted the work it has completed in schools across the city, in addition to its upcoming project plans, to ensure the health and safety of students, staff and school communities.
“The most important aspect of our work is keeping everyone in our school buildings safe, supported and healthy,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent. “With buildings that are on average 70 years old, there is always work to be done and we must be vigilant about making needed repairs. We must also regularly share information with parents and community members about the work underway to protect the health and safety of everyone who enters our schools.”
Danielle Floyd, the District’s Chief Operating Officer, provided an update on the District’s lead paint and plaster stabilization efforts in a presentation before the committee. Since April 2018, projects at the following eight schools have been substantially completed: A.S. Jenks, Barton, Emlen, Finletter, Jackson, Kirkbride, Logan and Nebinger elementary schools. As a result, more than 3,300 students are learning in stabilized and repainted spaces, while environmental consultants logged 1,100 assessment hours.
In addition, the District announced five new locations for the stabilization and repairs: Cooke, Elkin, Meade, Roosevelt and Taggart elementary schools.
A detailed outline of the actions taken during the paint and plaster stabilization projects at each school can be found on the District’s website.
As a precautionary measure to further ensure school buildings remain safe and welcoming, the District hired licensed environmental professionals to remove asbestos-containing materials, including flooring, pipe insulation, and visible dust or debris at the following seven schools: A.S. Jenks, Brown, Cassidy, Mifflin, Moore, Nebinger and Olney elementary schools. All areas passed the criteria required by the Philadelphia Asbestos Control Regulations and were deemed safe for students and staff.
The District also continues to conduct federally-mandated Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) inspections. As of Nov. 30, 142 AHERA three-year inspections are complete since inspections began in summer 2018. These are in addition to regular inspections conducted in each school every six months.
The presentation ended with the news that in preparation for the upcoming school year, the District is expected to add 50 new positions to help its Operations Division deploy cleaning staff ahead of summer. Forty general cleaners are expected to be hired, in addition to 10 environmental response staff members, who would address mold, asbestos and other needs at schools during the summer. These positions will help implement the District’s new cleaning standards, released earlier this year.