Robertson County officials are working to find a new location for the school district’s central office on Woodland Street after asbestos was discovered in the building, posing environmental concerns for employees.
During a county commission’s education and budget committee’s workshop last week, Robertson County Director of Schools Mike Davis told commissioners that five central office employees had recently been diagnosed with “environmentally-related illnesses.”
“We’ve know for a long time that the building had some structural issues you could walk across the floor and feel a quiver and so forth, but I don’t think anyone really realize there might be something dangerous inside the building,” said Robert County Mayor Howard Bradley.
County officials confirmed the issue with News 2 after an inspection was completed in the building back in March. Inspectors found indications of asbestos present in the wall and ceiling plaster in the old gym, which is currently being used for storage.
County officials said it was recommended that the school district either remove any materials containing asbestos or do an abatement to eliminate any health risks.
Mayor Bradley was informed by the schools director of the issue and the solutions he had in place.
“Once we got this information we have tried to act very quickly,” said Mayor Bradley.
The first one is going through with the abatement, which could cost around $1 million or move the central office a couple of miles down the road to the Robert L. Smith Building, which is the old Acme Boot Building at 800 M.S. Couts Boulevard.
The building is owned by the county and is exclusively being used by the school district for a couple of departments, including the school’s health department division.
Relocating the central office would cost between $1 million and $2 million, but it could take up to six months for a move to happen and could pose a health risk for employees.
Mayor Bradley said once a solution is determined, they may consider moving employees into a temporary location during the project.
“Because of the urgency of this matter, I think the board and the commission understands we got to fast -track this situation and get the folks moved,” said Bradley.
Mayor Bradley said a recently issued bond to help build a new elementary school will be used to help fund the project.
Davis is expected to present a solution and an estimated cost of the project during a workshop next month.