Albion, ID – State officials have discovered asbestos and lead at the long-abandoned Albion Normal School, which was listed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1980.
Four buildings on the school campus are tainted with the dangerous substance and soil samples around five buildings were found to contain both asbestos and lead, according to a health and safety investigation by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
The historic school, opened in 1894, was closed in 1971, but a lot of activity still takes place there – a museum is still operated on the campus and youth track meets and city social events are held there on occasion. Many of the buildings have been broken into by various people.
Unfortunately for all of the campus’s visitors, the Idaho DEQ report states that based on known concentrations of asbestos and lead, there’s a possibility that the visitors have been exposed.
The property was purchased last year by building developers Troy and Kent Mortensen, who are working with the DEQ to have the hazardous materials safely removed by early summer. Asbestos abatement has already been completed in some of the school buildings and the soil is expected to be decontaminated by July
The developers plan to transform the site into a retreat to open in late June for uses ranging from family get-togethers to corporate getaways.
The Mortensens are hoping to be reimbursed up to 70 percent of the cost for removing lead from the soil, which is expected to cost at least $44,000. They applied for grants through the DEQ’s Brownfield Revitalization and Volunteer Cleanup program, which was created to spur development in ruined areas.