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Published: Tuesday, 12/18/2001

Sylvania school's rehab tab: $675K

The project manager for the engineering and environmental science firm of Mannik & Smith Group, Inc., said last night it will cost $675,000 to $775,000 to make Central Elementary School safe for students again.

The firm's Ken Cherry said the proposed cleanup would make Central, which was closed in October after students complained of respiratory ailments and rashes, cleaner than most homes in Sylvania.

“The good news is we think it's fixable. The bad news is it's not inexpensive,” Mr. Cherry told the Sylvania board of education at Southview High School.

“We've taken a very conservative approach,” he said. “Our primary emphasis is the health of the students, faculty, and staff.”

The report by Mannik & Smith, which is based in Maumee, lists steps to eliminate mold and other allergens from the building. Suggestions include replacing all carpeting with vinyl tile, using a high-efficiency vacuum to clean all ceilings and walls, cleaning all surfaces students might touch with detergents, and installing ventilation fans.

The work would take two to three months, Mr. Cherry said. Work on the roof should be done immediately to prevent further moisture from seeping into the building and causing more mold and decay, he said.

Superintendent Lester Schultz agreed that roof repairs should begin right away. He said he will meet with Mr. Cherry today to arrange for hiring a contractor. The report estimated roofing costs at $14,500.

Enviro-Health, Inc., previously did a study on possible environmental problems at Central. That firm recommended further testing on the school.

The report from Mannik & Smith Group did not suggest further testing. Mr. Cherry said testing is expensive and often inconclusive, so his firm assumed that areas designated by Enviro-Health for further testing were contaminated.

Mark Luetke, board vice president, said he was pleased with the report.

“This is the first time we've had any kind of answers about what's going on at Central,” he said.

But he noted the report did not allow for any portable units being used for classrooms, so the newly-cleaned school might not be able to accommodate all Central students.

The board will receive the firm's final report by Jan. 3 and will meet to discuss the final version at 3 p.m. Jan. 4 at the Burnham Building, 6850 Monroe St. The central advisory group, made up of 12 parents, teachers, and community leaders appointed by the board, will discuss the report at the meeting.

Sylvania residents are doing their part to help defer costs of cleaning up Central. A spaghetti and pizza dinner organized by several residents raised $5,539. Frank Arvay, a Sylvania Township police officer, presented the check to the board last night.



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