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No trace of asbestos found at school site

Posted at 6:27 AM, Jul 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 06:27:45-04

60 samples taken at the future site of a new high school in Bonita Springs showed no signs of asbestos.

The Lee County School District hired a contractor to take the soil samples, after concerns were raised that contamination was present. Asbestos can cause lung disease.

"I believe we have a very clean site," said Lee County Superintendent Dr. Gregory Adkins. "It's good news for us, because it allows us to probably continue and close this site, and start construction and get a school open in the fall of 2018."

Until now there had been some uncertainty as to whether there would be a new school at the corner of Imperial Parkway and Shangril-La Road.

In 2009 asbestos was buried there by contractors working on Imperial Parkway.

"There was piping material that had within the cement asbestos fibers," said Adkins. He adds all of that material was completely removed.

But Debbie Fosselman, who is with a group challenging this process says the piping is probably still there because sampling only went 6 inches below the surface of the ground, not deep enough to find the dangerous material.

"They were digging trenches, 3 to 5 feet, and they were putting the pipe in there, and in some cases even sawed the pipe."

Fosselman isn't surprised the test results came back negative. She doesn't think the school district did a thorough job looking for asbestos, and as a result, she worries they may be jeopardizing people's lives.

"Everyone has us as they old people, we just don't want it in our backyard, and we don't want the noise of the football stadium. It's not safe for children, it's not safe for the neighbors."

Construction on the school is expected to begin in December. Fosselman says her group will continue to fight the project.