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Yellow Brick work halted

Allyn Harvey

A halt-work order was issued at the Yellow Brick School Monday,after the Aspen city manager learned that demolition work wasbeing done without a building permit.The construction work also sparked parent complaints to the CityCouncil that their children were being exposed to large amountsof dust and airborne fiberglass.About a half-dozen parents, seeking an explanation, confrontedthe council during its Monday lunch-hour work session. A formerelementary school, the Yellow Brick on North Garmisch Street isnow a city-owned building that is home to several day-care andother programs.”There was dust everywhere,” said Joe Fredericks, “and my daughterhad to walk through it. These guys were in full body suits andrespirators.”City Manager Amy Margerum, whose child attends a day-care programin the Yellow Brick, said she met with Aspen Painting, Inc. ownerRoger Moyer last Wednesday, the first day of work, and insistedhe limit his work to small, sealed-off sections of the hallway.Margerum said at yesterday’s meeting that she understood her instructionswere followed. But parents of children attending the Waldorf School at the YellowBrick said their children were exposed last week when the instructoropened the door to the hallway. The instructor apparently tookthe children to the bathroom through the hallway, exposing themto the dusty air, according to accounts offered Monday.”What are they pulling out – fiberglass? Is there asbestos? Shouldwe be looking for rashes?” asked Jennifer Carr, whose child remainedin school yesterday despite her concerns. Most of the parents said their children were staying home untilit was safe for them to return.Margerum assured parents that tests commissioned by the city revealedthere was no asbestos in the building. Other tenants, however, say they were warned about the work wellahead of time, and that everyone was told to go outside, if necessary,to access the bathrooms.”I thought the people doing the work did an excellent job of sealingoff the work area,” said Kids Club Daycare Director Joyce Witte.”A little dust comes with the territory – most of us are reallythrilled that some of the work is finally being done.”Witte, who sits on the task force that advises the city on managementof the Yellow Brick, said the ceiling work is the second itemon a long list of repairs she and other tenants decided on lastyear. The first item tackled was the leaky roof.Margerum said that she ordered all work on the project to stoponce she learned that neither the city’s recreation departmentnor Aspen Painting had been issued a building permit. In mostcases, she said, a permit is required before work begins, butthe nature of the agreement between the city and Aspen Paintingmay have caused confusion.Originally, the company was only hired to paint the areas wherean electrician was installing energy-efficient lighting. The scopeof work increased after water damage was discovered between theceiling and the roof. Margerum said that once the project required demolition, a buildingpermit should have been requested. Recreation Director Tim Andersonapplied for one last Wednesday, but the building department apparentlyallowed the work to continue while the application was pending.”They should have shut work down,” she said. “Or at least he [thebuilding inspector] should have let me know.”


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