Monday, 4 June 2012

JFK facility will not be ready for September


 It has been determined that John F. Kennedy High School will need to begin the 2012-2013 academic year in the Rosemount High School facility while John F. Kennedy Business Centre will have to continue operating at the Shadd Business Centre and the  Rosemount Technology Centre Curtis George Campus in Montreal North. Here is Director General Robert Stocker's message on the subject.



June 4, 2012

UPDATE  JOHN F. KENNEDY FACILITY



Dear Stakeholders,

I would like to thank everyone who has worked diligently on the asbestos situation at John F. Kennedy High School. The team was led by the Deputy Director General, Roma Medwid who collaborated with the Chair, Ms. Angela Mancini, the Vice Chair, Ms. Sylvia Lo Bianco and the Commissioner for John F. Kennedy, Mr. Rocco Barbieri as well as the Commissioner for Rosemount High School, Mr. A. Cannavino, to ensure that the concerns of all the stakeholders were addressed. 



As you are aware from our previous communication, the temporary relocation of John F. Kennedy High School and John F. Kennedy Business Centre was largely accomplished seamlessly due to the efforts of a whole team of people: M. Claude Dansereau and Mr. Cosmo Della Rocca, Regional Directors, Mr. Joe Marra, Principal of JFK, Mr. F. Di Paolo, Principal of JFK Business Centre, Ms. Demetra Droutsas, Principal of Rosemount High School, Mr. Harry Michalopoulos, Principal Rosemount Technology Centre, Ms Alice Sideropoulos, Principal of Shadd Business Centre, the staffs of both schools, the Governing Boards of both schools, the EMSB Management Team (A. Furfaro, J. Nicolopoulos, C. Spyridakos, S. Kakouratos, A. Watson, C. Primiano,  L. Lewis, L. Di Fillippo),  the field service technicians headed by G. Bakakis, (EMSB) CSST Officer  C. Boutin, the School Organization Technician E. Baise and  of course, our Communications officer, M. Cohen. It was a team that worked tirelessly to relocate the schools but, more importantly, is presently involved in coordinating our efforts to finish testing, locating, and then the eventual clean up of the asbestos from JFK. I wish to thank everyone for their effort and determination in working to provide a safe, clean environment for the students and staff of the JFK facility.



Although it appears that there is little being done at JFK, this is far from reality. Parents who live close by and don't see much action may not be aware that this is because the experts are still testing. As stated in the public meeting, we have located the source of one of the types of asbestos fibres. We are currently conducting tests to locate the source of another type of fibre which appears in ‘trace’ (or very small)  amounts. We are being thorough and it is meticulous work.  By May 30th, we took 69 samples from the ‘old’ or original section of the school. As of June 4th, we will be taking further samples in the ‘new’ section which includes the pool, the new gym, the workshop area and the cafeteria.



Please remember that it takes a few days to install the testing machinery in the locations, and then it takes a few days to take samples. Then we have to wait a number of days for the results. Once the results are in, they are reviewed and a determination is made as to what the next step will be. As stated, we are working slowly and methodically to determine if there is another source of asbestos fibre that exists so that once we begin the cleanup we will be sure that there will be no further contamination from another source. We want to be absolutely sure that the students and staff will be going back to a clean, safe environment.

Rest assured that a JFK Task Force met to move this work along as quickly as possible without compromising the end result: a school that is free of asbestos for a safe return to the facility.



Once the testing is completed (targeted for mid June), the documents for the cleanup of JFK will be prepared and submitted for public tender. There is a minimum 10 day period where bids are submitted and accepted. Then the bids are analyzed by a supervising architect. Finally, the work is awarded to a company that specializes in the removal of asbestos.  Once the asbestos is removed then the regular summer cleaning (washing and waxing floors etc) of the premises can begin. Currently, JFK is scheduled to be ready by the end of September. Every effort will be made to safely finish ahead of schedule if at all possible.



Therefore, the students will start their 2012-2013 school year at the Rosemount facility. We understand that this may be disappointing news, but we feel it is necessary to give you the facts as we know them now.



We will continue to update you as progress is made. We want to reassure you that it is our goal to work as quickly as possible- but safely and thoroughly. 



We would also like to address the issue of the rumors that are out there. We have no wish to sell off the JFK  facility for condo development. We are educators - not real estate developers. Furthermore, any sale of school board facilities requires extensive consultation and is closely supervised by the MELS. This is not something that a School Board can arbitrarily do on its own.



It is our intention to reopen the facility so that JFK High School and JFK Business Centre can return home.

With the help of all the individuals mentioned at the beginning, and with the support of all the members of Council and the community, we will realize our goal.



We will submit another update to you before the end of June.



Sincerely,




R. Stocker

Director General

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