Old Trailwood Elementary demolition pushed back after asbestos concerns from parents

OVERPLAND PARK, Kan. - The Shawnee Mission School District announced on Tuesday that demolition of the old Trailwood Elementary School building will be pushed back after parents brought up asbestos concerns.

In a statement released by the district, interior asbestos abatement at the old building will take place while students and staff at the new facility are on spring break in March.

At the conclusion of the school year, full demolition will begin.

The announcement came just days after the new facility opened for classes in Overland Park.

Last December, a number of parents raised concerns over the demolition project for the old building.

Parents said the original plan, which had asbestos abatement beginning later this month, put children and staff close by at risk for asbestos exposure during school hours.

Overland Park parents Malinda Sutton and Victoria Savich started a petition in response to the project plans.

The petition, which garnered over 300 digital signatures, called on the district to delay demolition until a time when students and staff were not at the new school.

"Twenty years down the road, you don't want to find out your kid got exposed and now they have mesothelioma," explained Sutton. "We were just trying to be proactive."

Sutton told 41 Action News that the large amount of support for the petition showed how much people cared about the issue.

"People didn't want their kids exposed," she said. "Grandmas and grandpas didn't want their grandchildren exposed."

Parents learned of the change at a PTA meeting held at the new school building on Tuesday night.

PTA President Christa Rupp said after a meeting earlier in the day, construction and district leaders wanted to ease the concerns from parents.

"They listened and were concerned about the panic," said Rupp, who has served as PTA president for the last two years.

The original asbestos abatement at the old school building was slated to begin on Jan. 27th.

Due to the change in scheduling, construction on the new facility's playground will be pushed back until at least November.

Rupp also told parents that the scheduling change adds on $100,000 to the multi-million dollar cost of the project.

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Tom Dempsey can be reached at Tom.Dempsey@KSHB.com.

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