Asbestos ruins hopeful start of new school year

Nothing is more frustrating than anticipating something special, only to have a “monkey wrench” get in the way and change the mood and outlook of everyone.

Such was the case at Alpena High School this week and the start of classes, when all of a sudden the school’s B-House ended up having to be closed because of a concern with asbestos. A contractor was sanding floor tiles in the new Mechatronics & Amp Up course room when concern arose about the dust from the project. Air samples taken in the room that were tested by an environmental firm specializing in asbestos showed no signs of the mineral. However, dust samples did show signs of asbestos. Because of that, school officials now were required to bring in industrial hygienists to abate the problem.

What should have been a week filled with excitement instead has turned into a week of disappointment and frustration.

While classes in B-House all have been moved, it is particularly frustrating since the new Mechatronics & Amp Up course, which many students were eagerly anticipating, is one that has had to be relocated. Instead of beginning classes in a new room, with new equipment, students are meeting elsewhere until the room is cleared for occupation again. And, since this is the wing where many Career and Technical Education students are housed, the displacement also impacts students from Hillman, Alcona and Atlanta schools, as well.

Alpena High administrators and staff seem to be handling the situation well and are making the best of a bad situation. Certainly the way they have responded to the concern is appreciated.

Hopefully, the situation is soon corrected and students are able to safely return to B-House again.