Fairfax County

The following were among the actions taken at the Nov. 12 work session of the Fairfax County School Board's Facilities Committee. For more information, call 691-2991.

SCHOOL BUILDING SURVEY -- Administrators ranked 72 elementary schools and nine intermediate schools in the order they needed structural, electrical and mechanical repairs as school officials prepare to target schools under the county's 13-year-old renovation program.

The top 10 elementary schools ranked highest based on needwere: Garfield, Louise Archer, Mt. Eagle, Keene Mill, Ravensworth, Bren Mar Park, Waynewood, North Springfield, Annandale Terrace, and Haycock. The three intermediate schools judged most in need were Jackson, Frost, and Herndon.

To get the rankings, architects studied all elementary schools built in the county before 1974 and intermediate schools built before 1971, examining the condition of ceilings, boilers, air-conditioning, electrical equipment, plumbing, gymnasiums and parking lots.

Garfield and Jackson topped the list because of problems with electrical systems, including public address systems and lighting, officials said.

The board will decide next spring which schools it will request money for in the November 1988 bond referendum. If funding is approved, repairs would start in the summer of 1989.

The board will not decide until next year how many schools to include in the referendum proposal. But in 1986, they asked for money for six elementary schools and two intermediate schools and funding for varying degrees of repairs at nine high schools.

Officials said they did not include high schools in this year's survey because all but Oakton and Herndon High Schools have recently been renovated or are too new to require full renovation, and those two schools will be included in the next bond referendum.

Any problems that are safety hazards, they said, will be corrected immediately as they are found, instead of waiting for overall renovations.

Officials plan to overhaul or replace electrical and mechanical equipment, add new carpets, replace ceilings and some lighting and install air-conditioning. Such renovations generally cost between $1.6 million and $2.3 million for elementary schools, about $4.5 million for intermediate schools and between $6 million and $10 million for high schools, according to Eugene Kelly, project manager for the school system's Office of Design and Construction Services.

Following such a renovation, a school building would be expected to last another 20 years, Kelly said.

Officials also plan to remove asbestos from the schools during or before the renovations. Some form of asbestos now exists at about 130 of 185 schools, said Douglas Thorpe, plant operation specialist for the school system's Office of Maintenance Services.

Particles of airborne asbestos are a potential cause of lung cancer, but Thorpe said asbestos at all the county's schools is wrapped up or enclosed to prevent fibers from becoming airborne.

"At this point, none of them are health hazards," he said.

Two years ago, Thorpe said, the county estimated the cost of removing all asbestos from the estimated 160 schools that had it then at $13 million. But the cost probably would be higher now because of tighter U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for disposing of the fire-retardant substances.