Saturday, December 2, 2023
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Van Buren Health Department Asbestos Presence Better Than Anticipated

Officials did discover asbestos at the Van Buren County Health Department, but the presence was less than anticipated.

The testing came as officials prepare to remodel and expand the facility on Old McMinnville Street. County Public Health Director Angela Slaven said the news was better than what they feared.

“Estimated abatement costs currently is eight thousand dollars,” Slaven said. “Which I felt was very good news because that is going to come out of your appropriations, which appropriations are twenty-four thousand. So we had up to twenty-four thousand to use for this abatement.”

Slaven said contractors found asbestos in aluminum door frame calking and under floor tiles in the lower level of the building. She said she was waiting for responses on the abatement process.

“My question to them is okay, so you’re going to open the floor up,” Slaven said. “What does that look like for us as far as moving everything out? How long does that have to be uncovered? Just logistical questions.”

The state said the contract was approved, Slaven said. And Van Buren can move forward with bidding while they wait for these answers.

“We would go ahead and take bids for an architect and a contractor,” Slaven said. “That should be our next steps.”

Commissioner Kenny Smith asked if the asbestos was in the concrete. Slaven said yes and offered to email the report to commissioners for review.

Slaven said she’ll come back to the commission with the bid process once the Health Department has started on that step.