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Will Pearson open in time?

WINSTED — Wednesday, Aug. 31, is the date students are scheduled to return to Pearson Middle School.However, questions are arising about whether the school will open in time due to an asbestos abatement project.The project, which began in July, includes the demolition of 34,262 square feet of asbestos-containing floor tile located in classrooms and hallways throughout the building.Kathleen O’Brien, as chairman of the Board of Education, said that Weise Construction from Norwich, which is undertaking the project, is scheduled to finish the project by Friday, Aug. 19.“However, we are not certain that there will be enough time to get furniture in the building back where it should be,” O’Brien said. “Also, by that time they may not have finished the abatement on the third floor. We will not be using the third floor for classrooms this school year, so [children] accessing it is not an issue. The issue is if we would have permission to have children in the school building while they are still working on it.”The cost for the project itself, which is covered in the school district’s approved budget for 2011-12, is up to $515,000.The state is set to reimburse up to 70 percent of the costs for the total project.O’Brien said the project started late in the summer because the state took a long time to approve the project.“The governor moved a number of agencies and their offices around, so the school may be open late,” O’Brien said.School Building Committee Chairman Joseph Beadle said the school district is developing a contingency plan just in case a delayed opening occurs.“Right now, everything is on schedule and we have not run into any delays whatsoever,” Beadle said. “But we’re developing a plan in the event they run into some sort of problem. Everything is moving along slowly, but we need to be prepared. They’re pretty darn close to having it all done.”

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