The Denison Independent School District Board gave the OK Tuesday night to add a $400,000 to the budget for asbestos abatement and removal at Scott Middle School. The abatement is necessary for $2.8 million of improvements the district has slated for the middle school over the coming summer.


“Any time you do anything when there is asbestos in the area... you are going to have to have professionals come in and do the abatement and it is very very expensive to do that,” DISD Superintendent Henry Scott said.


In the coming weeks, the district plans to get underway on a series of major improvement and repair projects at the school. The largest portion of this involves replacing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system on the school.


Between the new HVAC syste, controls and related improvements, the district is slated to invest $1.5 million.


“The project at the middle school partially involves the old air conditioning system on the building. It is obsolete, very inefficient and is breaking down on a regular basis,” Scott said.


Other portions of the project include ceiling work, the repair and placement of flooring and tile and a new roof on the auditorium.


Given the age of the 50s-era school, Scott said Asbestos is likely in everything from the ceiling to the binding for the floor tiles.


“There is a lot of asbestos in these older schools,” Scott said. “Any time we have to do work, or upgrades where we have to remove something, asbestos abatement becomes a major issue.”


While asbestos was once a common construction material, it fell out of favor by the early 70s as fears of its carcinogenic propertys began to rise.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.