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Demo work at Boyle Heights’ Roosevelt High halted after asbestos discovered

Boyle Heights  — The demolition of a 1920-era building at Theodore Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles was halted on Friday after a contractor found asbestos-laden piping.

School officials said there is no danger to children, and air samples are being taken daily.  The demolition will continue once the hazardous material is removed and the South Coast Air Quality Management District gives the go-ahead, said L.A. Unified. .

“Ongoing air monitoring data continues to show that there has not been any migration of airborne asbestos,” a statement by the Los Angeles Unified School District emailed to the Eastsider said.

But those who had opposed a full tear down of the Art Deco building and numerous others to make way for a $173 million modernization project  call it another mark against Los Angeles Unified School District.

“Here we are again because they did not do their research correctly,” said Vivian Escalante, president of the Committee to Defend Roosevelt, a group that is negotiating a settlement to preserve a portion of the entrance to the landmark building.

The district said before demolition, all asbestos had been removed. But last week a contractor alerted SCAQMD that workers found asbestos-wrapped steam pipes between the floors and foundation of the building.

The district said the material had been concealed between the second and third floor.

“L.A. Unified continues to work with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to ensure that this unforeseen asbestos material is addressed in the safest possible way.”

Officials air quality officials said they visited the demolition site on Oct. 10 in response to a complaint but found no violation of rules. Inspectors returned to the campus last Thursday and Friday following the discover of asbestos.

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