December 11, 2018

Asbestos, mold being removed at site of old Sacred Heart Hospital

CUMBERLAND — In addition to asbestos abatement, project managers must now add mold removal to its list of issues to be addressed at the old Sacred Heart Hospital as they prepare to demolish the former medical complex to clear the way for a new Allegany High School.

An update on the new Allegany was given Tuesday at the Allegany County Board of Education’s regular monthly meeting.

Referred to as the Braddock Campus by the board, the mold was discovered while ongoing asbestos removal continues at the former hospital campus.

Asbestos abatement is currently focused on the ground and basement levels. The mold problems were found on the basement floor.

“We expect to complete the abatement work by the end of this month or the first of next month,” said Vince Montana, director of facilities for the board.

Board officials do not expect the mold and asbestos issues to delay the project.

A specific date for the demolition to take place has not been determined, but officials say it may be after the first of the year. Board officials say meetings will be held with neighbors surrounding the new high school prior to any demolition work beginning.

The new Allegany, with a price tag of between $30 and $40 million, is expected to open its doors in the fall of 2017.

Education officials recently visited two new schools in Towson and Aberdeen to see first-hand the design of modern schools. The new Allegany is being designed with a 50-year time frame in mind, according to officials.

In other news from the meeting, Robert Farrell, coordinator of security, safety and risk management for the BOE, updated the board on work being done by three new rotating school security officers.

“It has been working really well. To see them interacting with the kids is great,” said Farrell.

Farrell said the the drug awareness course known as DARE will be taught soon at the Mount Savage School and Westernport and Flintstone elementary schools.

“Some schools have not had DARE classes in a long time,” said Farrell.

It was also announced during the meeting that the board was selected to receive a top honor from the city of Cumberland’s Historical Preservation Society.

Known as the Mary Susan Cerutti Historic Preservation Award, the annual recognition is given to a person or organization that completed an historically important restoration project.

The board was chosen for the bronze plaque for the rehabilitation work it recently completed at its central office on Washington Street.

“The work that was done to restore the slate roof instead of replacing it was terrific. Not many projects were as complete as yours,” said Cheri Yost, of the HPS.

The board’s central office building was constructed in 1866. The BOE took it over in 1931.

Ben Brauer, supervisor of student services for the BOE, gave an update on efforts to work with students who present serious behavioral challenges.

When a child’s school, known as the student’s home school, has exhausted all efforts to manage a student with serious behavioral issues, Brauer explained the process for handling the student.

Students with special behavioral needs are temporarily removed from their home school.

He said the work done at the Virtual Academic Village on Pershing Street has been very positive and is yielding a lot of success.

Brauer said a troubled student is placed with the same teacher for the entire day.

The board has also renamed the Eckhart Alternative School, a facility for challenging students, to the Eckhart Alternative Program. Brauer said there is a statewide effort under way to remove the implication of permanence given by calling alternative facilties “schools.”

“Calling it a school sounds permanent. We work with the kids’ home school to keep them on course. They are not lost or forgotten,” said Brauer.

Brauer said efforts are being made to see that a student who is removed from his home school can be returned to the home school as soon as possible.

Also at the meeting, Claire Romaine, a student at Mountain Ridge, serving as the student member of the board, debuted a new public service announcement video prepared by her and other students called “See it, Say it.”

;The video is an effort to make students aware of safety concerns at schools. Romaine says the video will be on the BOE website and hopes it can be shown during an English class in all area schools.

The video focused on the dangers surrounding propping doors open. Future videos are also planned on a variety of safety topics.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com

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Asbestos, mold being removed at site of old Sacred Heart Hospital

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