As­bestos found in some Capi­tol spa­ces

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES - MICHAEL R. WICKLINE

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.”

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