Asbestos found in Robertson Co. Schools' central office - WSMV Channel 4

Asbestos found in Robertson Co. Schools' central office

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SPRINGFIELD, TN (WSMV) -

There's a mad scramble going on at the Robertson County Schools' central office after several school employees were reported sick.

Engineers found asbestos in the building that was built about 90 years ago.

There has been problems with the building before, but nothing like what they recently found.

"This came as somewhat of a surprise because a building of that age doesn't usually have asbestos," said Robertson County Mayor Howard Bradley.

Bradley said the building failed an air quality test for the first time in March.

He said engineers found traces of asbestos, a mineral fiber that when inhaled can cause lung cancer.

Last week the director of schools told county officials five of his employees were sick. All of them work in the Central Office and were diagnosed with environmentally-caused illnesses.

"I think there are five people who have been treated for respiratory issues over the past few months, not to say they are directly connected to the environment of that building," said Bradley. "I'm not privy to say that. Hopefully we'll find that out in time, but we need to take care of our people and put them in a safe environment."

The building is still being used for school business, but administrators are trying to get out as quickly as possible.

They could move into the county's alternative education building.

On Thursday, county commissioners approved $36,000 out of recently secured bonds so the schools can pay an architect to draw up plans for a renovation.

"I think best-case scenario is six months. It could take nine months," said Bradley.

The county is still looking for a temporary building to work in to protect its other employees from possible exposure.

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