Steamboat Springs Laurel Street Preschool reopens Wednesday after closing for more than two weeks when the removal of moldy carpet revealed the presence of asbestos tiling at the Old Town Steamboat Springs preschool.
Routt County Environmental Health Specialist Jason Striker said the school has met all requirements to reopen the building, which included removal of the carpet, tiling and passing a final air clearance test.
The school’s board of directors issued a letter to parents Tuesday informing them that Laurel Street had been cleared to reopen.
Striker, of the Routt County Department of Environmental Health, said a complaint led him to inspect the school April 27. He said groundwater had seeped into the school’s lower level, where there weren’t any children, since April 19. Because the water damage resulted in black mold, he said the carpet was removed April 29 and the asbestos tile was exposed.
He said the school, which daily serves about 30 children ages 2 1/2 to 5, voluntarily closed to address the issue. The preschool has since operated at the Igloo at Howelsen.
Striker said the tiling didn’t previously present a health risk at the preschool, which has operated since 1964.
“That asbestos was under the carpeting,” he said. “It wasn’t exposed until the carpet was removed.
“When it was exposed, that’s when there was a risk.”
After the tile was confirmed to have asbestos, Mountain Asbestos Abatement, of Parker, removed the tiling from the building’s lower level. Then DS Consulting, of Avon, conducted the air clearance test. Striker then signed off on Monday on Laurel Street’s ability to reopen.
Janet Murray, an environmental geologist with Northwest Colorado Consultants, the Steamboat company that tested the tiling for asbestos, said asbestos is “fairly common” in Old Town, depending on the age of the building.
“Many different building materials I view on a weekly basis contain asbestos in Old Town,” she said.
The board of directors’ letter to parents stated that pre-kindergarten students would have class in the school’s upstairs until new flooring, which is being ordered, is installed.
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com