A repurposing of the former Harrison County Hospital – built in 1950 at 245 Atwood Street in Corydon, Indiana and later moved to 1141 Hospital Drive NW – is in the final stages as Midwest Service Group of Shererville, Indiana deploys two shifts per day of 16 licensed asbestos workers each to remove, bag and haul asbestos-containing debris away from the site.
The work is being overseen by James L. Shireman Inc., a general contractor hired in 2009 to insure the former hospital was successfully converted to a new, county government facility.
The entire project is expected to cost about $13 million, and the cost of asbestos removal – originally budgeted at about $200,000 to $300,000 – caused a minor flurry in November of 2009 when Bret Dodd, a consultant for RQAW Corp. reported to the Harrison County Board of Commissioners that the asbestos portion alone could cost up to $1 million.
This may have had something to do with Midwest winning the asbestos-removal bid, at $434,895, or Midwest’s offer may have come in lower largely because of the recent recession and consequent downturn in the construction industry. In any case, the pace at which asbestos remediation is proceeding means that the next phase in renovation – the installation of metal studs to form wall sections, is already underway.
Midwest, which started as a small family business in Missouri, is now the largest asbestos remediation firm in the St. Louis area and has developed a reputation as a knowledgeable, highly experience asbestos removal company.
Asbestos remediation work is highly skilled and requires a complex understanding of the rules and regulations instituted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, or NESHAP provisions, as revised in 1990.
Most importantly, under NESHAP, renovation of a public building must be done by trained personnel, supervised by a licensed supervisor, or foreman, familiar with appropriate demolition and asbestos removal procedures.
NESHAP also defines the categories of asbestos-containing materials (regulated or non-regulated, non-friable, friable, Category I or II); the quality of wetness required when removing asbestos; the methods of removal (cutting or grinding); and the methods of disposing of asbestos waste.
Because Midwest is a licensed asbestos removal firm, those who work in the future county government building can be relatively sure they won’t contract mesothelioma from stray asbestos fibers because Midwest didn’t take proper precautions.
This is something that can’t always be said for public buildings built during the Asbestos Era (1900-1979) that have been repurposed or repaired, either because owners, contractors and construction supervisors didn’t know about the dangers of asbestos, or weren’t aware of NESHAP regulations, which are available online from any regional environmental or air quality agency or health department.
In about six months, according to Shireman executives, the asbestos removal phase should be completed, final cleanup performed, and air quality testing used to certify the building as asbestos-free.
After that, final renovations should take about a year, after which administrative offices currently located at the county courthouse on North Capitol Avenue can be moved to their new, and considerably less crowded, location, leaving only the circuit court and other court-related offices at the 81-year-old courthouse.
Sources: Harris County Hospital, Corydon Democrat, EPA website, Louisville Courier Journal