Elementary/Middle School Program
601 N. Mildred Rd., Cortez, CO 81321 | 970-564-9377| kivacharter.org
November 12, 2018
Dear Kiva Community,
We would like to take a moment to answer the questions we have received regarding the renovation process and the current status of our school building. Below we have tried to provide answers based on the information we have available. In addition, the Board will be meeting at Children’s House, 1204 E. Empire, on Tuesday, November 13th at 6:30 pm and will provide you with an opportunity to ask any additional questions you may have, as well as share any comments. Please understand that we do not have ALL the answers, but will do our best to obtain answers to any questions we receive. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through this challenge.
Background and Timeline of Children’s Kiva Montessori School (CKMS) Building Purchase and Renovation at 601 N. Mildred:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Regulation No. 8, Part B (CDPHE 2008a), requires that suspected asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in buildings built prior to 1988 be assumed to contain asbestos or have an inspection conducted by an EPA-accredited/CDPHE-licensed asbestos building inspector.
- On August 9, 2017 a Project Specific Asbestos/Lead Paint Hazard Assessment Report was prepared for the CDPHE at the request of Montezuma County. This report was completed by a certified asbestos inspector and tested by an independent 3rd party lab. “The purpose for the inspection was to confirm the presence/absence of asbestos containing materials (ACM) and lead-based paint (LBP) that may be impacted by the Montezuma County engineering staff during any renovation projects associated with the Justice Building.” In this report asbestos was found in ten identified construction materials including: mastic, sealants, popcorn ceiling materials, overspray, acoustical finishes, some drywall materials, and window caulking. Two were found to contain trace amounts below the requirement to abate, and 32 construction materials were verified non-asbestos containing materials. No paint was found to be lead based, although one sample out of 17 identified was identified as lead-containing paint. Based on that one sample, several other walls were deemed likely to have lead-containing paint and treated as if they did.
- On May 22, 2018 The CDPHE completed and delivered a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment at the request of The Children’s Kiva Building Corporation. The objective of the assessment was to provide an independent, professional opinion regarding recognized environmental conditions, as defined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), associated with the site. In the report it states “This assessment has revealed no evidence of recognized environmental conditions (RECs), as defined by ASTM, in connection with the Site. Therefore, further assessment of the Site is not warranted.” The CDPHE report also stated that, “CKMS plans to abate, or manage in place where appropriate, the known ACM [Asbestos-Containing Materials] in the on-site building. Further assessment with respect to these issues is not warranted at this time due to the contaminant delineation previously performed.”
- On June 21, 2018 the Children’s Kiva Building Corporation and Kimble Construction requested additional testing in what we consider to be Construction Phase 1A, in what has become the lower elementary classrooms and temporary upper elementary and middle school classrooms. None of these samples detected ACM. The decision to have these extra tests was strictly cautionary to ensure these areas were not contaminated prior to demolition.
- The abatement contractors have made multiple visits to the building over the course of the summer and fall to inspect and create a detailed abatement plan that was then submitted to the CDPHE for approval and permitting.
- On Monday, November 5, 2018 the abatement contractors, arrived on site with materials and supplies to start the abatement process in the area of Construction Phase 2 of the building. As is their standard practice, the abatement contractor took preliminary asbestos tests. We have not received a report, but our understanding is that all of these test samples were in areas of the building that have not been occupied by children and staff.
- On the evening of Tuesday, November 6, 2018 the abatement contractor notified two School Board members that some of the tests for asbestos came back positive and that CDPHE regulations require that the entire building be closed and no one except the abatement contractor would be allowed to enter.
- On the morning of Wednesday, November 7, 2018, two board members greeted parents and students in the parking lot and notified them that the school was closed for the remainder of the week. That same morning, the abatement contractor notified the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) of the positive test results. Moving forward the abatement contractor will follow all CDPHE protocols and guidelines.
- Following CDPHE protocols, the entire building must be “cleaned and cleared.” The first priority will be to “clean and clear” the classrooms, hallways, and restrooms in Construction Phase 1 of the building. The “cleaning” process involves wiping and vacuuming every surface and article in these spaces. The “clearing” involves testing the air and surfaces to ensure that no asbestos fibers are present.
What is abatement versus cleaning?
- Abatement is removing asbestos- or lead-containing building materials under extremely controlled and contained conditions;
- Containment means covering and/or sealing asbestos- or lead-containing materials so that the hazardous materials are not susceptible to being disturbed or becoming friable;
- Cleaning is wiping and/or vacuuming with HEPA filters to remove any asbestos fibers that might be present from all surfaces within a potentially contaminated space.
- Clearing involves testing and certifying that a cleaned area is asbestos-free.
Where was asbestos identified in the building?
- Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACM) were identified in structural materials in the initial testing conducted in 2017 by the CDPHE. The vast majority of these materials were in the north half of the building in what we identified as Construction Phase 2. On November 5, 2018, the abatement contractor conducted a different kind of test, using essentially a strip of tape that would pick up particulate matter from exposed surfaces. These surface contamination tests were the ones that triggered the complete closure of the school and the need to clean and clear the entire building, in addition to abating specific areas of Construction Phase 2.
Was abatement completed before construction began?
- No, as no evidence of recognized environmental conditions (RECs), as defined by ASTM, was found in connection with the Site and abatement was therefore not required for Phase I construction. All potentially hazardous materials were to be contained rather than abated. The abatement was scheduled to be done after completion of Construction Phase 1 and before beginning Construction Phase 2.
Were contaminated areas being used by staff and students?
- All positive surface tests were located in Construction Phase 2 area that were not occupied by students and staff.
Were students, staff, and community exposed to asbestos?
- There is no evidence that students, staff, or community members were exposed to asbestos, and we do not believe they were. Asbestos-Containing Materials that were identified prior to construction were contained during Construction Phase 1. The positive results from recent surface testing were all from areas of the building that were not open to staff and students. Additionally, we received information that the tests closest to the area occupied by students and staff were negative.
Will asbestos testing be completed in the classrooms?
- At this time the entire building is locked down with the only access available to the abatement contractor. They are in the process of cleaning and clearing the entire building, following CDPHE protocols. Upon completion all areas will have been cleaned, tested, and cleared of asbestos.
What about the materials inside? Can we get these items back?
- All materials currently in the school are subject to cleaning and clearing protocols before they can be removed. The abatement contractor will complete an inventory of all items as they begin the cleaning process. The staff has had a chance to give the abatement contractor a prioritized list of materials to recover from the classroom areas.
What about another location for the School?
- Over the last four years, the CKMS Board has searched for a permanent home for our students. Many Board members, volunteers, and community members have spent countless days evaluating different buildings in the county that might have served as the perfect home for our school. Finally, in December 2017 the CKMS board decided to not renew its leases for the buildings on Beech Street and proceed negotiating the purchase of the Justice Building. To accomplish this goal, the Children’s Kiva Building Corporation was created as an affiliated nonprofit devoted to acquiring facilities, and funding for facilities, over the long term.
What is the Children’s Kiva Building Corporation (CKBC)?
- The CKBC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is affiliated with the CKMS. The sole mission of the CKBC is to provide campus facilities for the CKMS. The CKBC purchased the property at 601 N. Mildred and borrowed money to abate and remodel the building to accommodate the needs of the school. In compliance with IRS guidelines, one of the three members of the CKBC Board is appointed by the CKMS Board. The CKBC was created because a charter school, as a subsidiary of the Public School District RE-1, cannot own property or take on long-term debt. The CKBC has an agreement to lease the building to the school. The rent payments are sufficient to cover the debt payment, property insurance, and building maintenance.
Where will CKMS be in the meantime?
- CKMS will resume school starting Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, 23390 Road K, Cortez, CO 81321. This is an exciting opportunity for our school to utilize the beautiful 170-acre campus. Crow Canyon is a very culturally inclusive environment, the space meets all of the needs and safety requirements for our students and staff. Every member of Crow Canyon’s staff has undergone the same Colorado Bureau of Investigations background check that our staff is required to take. In addition, Crow Canyon provides an opportunity for our students to expand their knowledge on the rich cultural history of our area.
When will we move back to 601 N. Mildred?
- Classes will resume at 601 N Mildred Road when all abatement has been completed.
Summary of what we know today:
- There is no evidence that students, staff, and families were exposed to harmful materials.
- The Phase 1 classroom areas are already in the process of being cleared by a licensed/certified asbestos contractor, under the guidance and authority of the CDPHE. Safety is the absolute top priority and measures are being taken to ensure the highest possible level.
- Materials in the building will be cleaned, any items deemed un-cleanable, or too costly to clean, will not be destroyed at this point, but separated and stored until they can be assessed by the CKBC.
- Priority is being put on personal items and materials needed by the school for full operation.
- At all times during construction, utmost care was taken to ensure a clean and safe environment.
- Updates will continue to be provided as we receive new information.
Again, thank you for your patience and support during this time. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Board via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children’s Kiva Montessori Elementary/Middle School Board of Directors