Asbestos removal tab will be $95,000

Efforts are being made to have a new school named for the late Dr. King.



YOUNGSTOWN — It will cost about $95,000 to remove asbestos from Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary.

That’s the recent estimate given the city school board as it prepares to raze the 67-year-old building on Covington Street.

The school district will have to foot only 20 percent of the asbestos removal cost.

The building is part of Youngstown’s $182 million school rebuilding program, and the state is picking up 80 percent of the package expense.

The school board voted earlier this month to seek bids for the asbestos work.

Asbestos, considered to be a hazardous material, must be removed in school demolition or major renovations and taken to a federally approved hazardous waste landfill for disposal.

Just how much it will cost to tear down the building hasn’t been determined yet.

Tony DeNiro, assistant superintendent of school business affairs, said demolition won’t occur until after the first of the year, probably in February.

The school board has yet to authorize the seeking of bids for that job.

The school wasn’t always named for the slain civil rights leader.

When it was built in 1940, it was named Covington Elementary after the street on which it is located.

It wasn’t until 1986, at the urging of such groups as the local chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, that the name was changed to Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary.

Although it is still referred to by that name, it became the temporary North Elementary two years ago — as the old North on Mariner Avenue was closed and demolished.

North stayed there for two years but moved to the former Mary Haddow Elementary building on Oak Street Extension this fall.

Haddow was technically closed, and children who attended that school are now a part of North.

The move to Oak Street Extension is also just temporary as a new North Elementary is being built on the old site on Mariner Avenue. That $8.5 million structure is slated to open in fall 2008.

Meanwhile, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, named for the late black rights activist and labor leader, is asking the school board to give North a new name — the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary.

That’s one of several requests the board is looking at. Other names proposed for North include McGuffey Elementary (for famed educator William Holmes McGuffey who grew up in Coitsville); and the late Rosa Parks, also a civil rights activist.

The family of the late Emanual Catsoules, a former city schools superintendent, has asked the board that a school be named in his honor, although it didn’t ask for a specific building.

The Rev. Michael Write, school board president, has appointed a special committee to come up with recommendations on school-naming issues.