Asbestos found in some Capitol spaces
A state House committee learned Tuesday asbestos was found in two meeting rooms and in adjoining offices to be renovated in the next several months at the state Capitol.
The panel then approved $1.13 million worth of contracts for the renovation project, including $39,400 for asbestos removal and an asbestos consultant.
“We just happened to stumble over this stuff [asbestos], and we ran across it at the eleventh hour,” Gary Clements, president of Clements & Associates Architects Inc. of North Little Rock, told the House Management Committee.
He said the asbestos was discovered in the floor tile under the carpet in Rooms 130 and 138 on the northwest end of the Capitol and in a Sheetrock compound in the walls of adjoining offices.
The project’s total cost is still estimated to be $48,702 less than the original projection of $1.18 million, and “so we are very pleased,” said House Chief of Staff Roy Ragland. “We are going to keep that because obviously you get started in this construction you sometimes run into problems that you didn’t foresee.”
The renovation project will be financed with a $981,000 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council from real estate transfer taxes, plus up to $205,000 in legislative facilities funds from the Bureau of Legislative Research.
Ragland said an asbestos consultant, Morris & Associates of Scott, compiled bids. Of three bids, Environmental Protection Associates was the low bidder at $37,400.
The state Department of Environmental Quality indicated that Environmental Protection Associates of Little Rock and Russellville is a reputable firm, Ragland said.
“The floor was covered with floor tiles underneath the carpet and, to take that up, they’re going to have to end up sanding the final surface to make it smooth. They’re going to scrap it and hose all that stuff,” Clements said. “There is a wall that has got Sheetrock compound that has asbestos … so they are actually having to put Sheetrock in.”