Hayden School District asking for $114,000 to remove asbestos

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— The Hayden School District's request for $114,000 to remove old carpet and asbestos tile from its middle and high schools is the only request from Routt County that the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program will hear next week.

For each funding cycle, the county typically fields several requests to the statewide program.

This cycle, requests are low across the board, with $6.5 million in grants and loans requested from organizations and groups statewide. In the last round, requests for grants and loans totaled $12.6 million.

"This is a pretty light round for us," said Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak, who sits on the nine-member Energy Impact Grant advisory committee.

The committee hears requests for grants and loans and votes on which applications to recommend for funding. Final funding decisions are made by the director of the Department of Local Affairs.

Hayden Superintendent Scott Mader said he's hopeful the committee will approve the request because the schools badly need the new carpet.

The current carpet is almost 20 years old and threadbare and torn. It is starting to come up at the seams, and the school has to tape down the edges so children don't trip, Mader said.

Another problem with the carpet is that it could foster growth of unhealthy molds and bacteria, which contribute to increased incidence of upper respiratory illnesses.

"Part of feeling good about coming to school and good about learning is being in an environment that's aesthetically nice plus clean plus healthy," Mader said. "This (carpet) is really starting to affect all three areas."

The carpet is glued to vinyl asbestos tiles, so to replace the carpet, the tiles need to be removed, which will require a team that has experience dealing with asbestos.

The total cost of the project is about $154,000. If the district receives the Energy Impact Assistance grant, it will pay about $40,000 from its own budget.

To make the project affordable for the district, it will be completed during two summers if the grant is awarded, Mader said.

If the funding doesn't come through, the next best option is to pull up the carpeting and tile and leave cement floors until carpet can be purchased, he said.

"The cement would be better than the carpet," he said.

Mader will attend the committee meeting next week in Estes Park along with a Hayden School Board member and the district's finance director and grant writer.

In this funding round, 29 groups are seeking money for projects. The majority are for public facilities, such as improvements to libraries or community buildings.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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