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Merrimack Valley

October 21, 2010

Cleanup of mold at Guilmette School could cost up to $2M

LAWRENCE — Ridding the Guilmette School of mold could cost more than $2 million, according to several School Committee members.

An e-mail by interim School Superintendent Mary Lou Bergeron on Tuesday informed members a full cleanup of the school might cost "in the vicinity of $1.9 million."

But James Vittorioso, the most senior member of the committee, said last night that he's heard the final bill could go as high as $2.5 million.

"It's another devastating blow to the good, hardworking citizens of Lawrence," Vittorioso said.

"This is a mess that's going to put us further in the hole. And those workers who are doing the cleanup are going to have a very good Thanksgiving and a happy Christmas," Vittorioso said.

Bergeron said she remains hopeful that the school — which serves 1,150 students in grades one through eight — will reopen Monday as a cleanup crew of 150 to 175 people continues to work around the clock to make the school safe.

"In terms of the costs, we are working with the insurance adjuster at this time, so I am not ready to put out a final figure," Bergeron said last night, when asked how much the cleanup will cost.

Bergeron met late yesterday with an industrial hygienist and representatives of the company involved in the cleanup. The School Department's insurance adjuster also was on the premises.

"At this time, the work is moving ahead on schedule with the goal of clearing the building this weekend," Bergeron told The Eagle-Tribune.

"We had a couple of spots where mold was found this week: behind cabinets in the lower level and on pipe insulation in the ceiling on the first floor. The cabinets have been removed and the wallboard remediated in this area. The pipe insulation is scheduled for removal tomorrow, so the final cleaning can take place on the first floor and lower level," she said.

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