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Oxnard Schools Try to Purchase Asbestos-Contaminated Office Site

October 22, 1987

Oxnard School District officials are negotiating the purchase of a site for the district's downtown business office, which could cost $2.1 bmillion to upgrade and rid of asbestos contamination.

Officials would not disclose which of two downtown sites is being considered to replace its headquarters at 831 S. B St.

An inspection in August by the Environmental Protection Agency found asbestos above a 13,545-square-foot ceiling in the 27-year-old building that served as a grocery store before the district bought it in 1975. An inspection last month by a private firm discovered asbestos in another 7,000 square feet of textured ceiling, said Ron Weinert, district director of facilities.

An air sample at that time did not detect asbestos, but school officials point out that the test only represented "a snapshot in time" and that earthquakes or even heavy rainstorms could loosen particles of the carcinogen that could be inhaled.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday October 29, 1987 Home Edition Ventura County Part 9 Page 2 Column 3 Zones Desk 2 inches; 39 words Type of Material: Correction
An article on Oct. 22 wrongly suggested that the Oxnard school district was negotiating the purchase of an asbestos-contaminated building. The district instead is trying to move its administrative offices from a building in which asbestos contamination has been discovered.

It is estimated that freeing the building of asbestos will cost nearly $1 million, but repairing and expanding the building to accommodate the district, which is expected to double in size over the next 10 years, would bring the total cost to $2.1 million, said Ardyce Driskill, assistant superintendent of business and fiscal services.

Previous EPA guidelines governing asbestos in school facilities would have permitted the recently discovered asbestos, but not the tougher regulations that went into effect last week and demand compliance by July, 1989, Driskill said.

An Oxnard developer hopes to persuade the district to jointly develop an office building that it plans to build downtown, school officials said last week. The district offices would occupy two floors of that building, and the developer would lease the present administration site from the district, demolish the building and build another in its place.

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