Neither the Johnston County school system nor its contractor will pay a fine for razing a high school field house without state permission.
The school system demolished the field house at Smithfield-Selma High School without the required state permit. But a subcontractor on the project followed state protocols for asbestos removal, according to the N.C. Division of Public Health.
“Prior to the demolition, an asbestos inspection had been conducted, and asbestos-containing materials were removed,” Cobey Culton, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said in an email. “This was confirmed through documents. Therefore, no penalties were pursued.”
Instead, the state sent the school system and primary contractor J.P. Edwards a warning.
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The demolition took place over two days in late July. The school system had shuttered the field house in February after a parent complained about mold, faulty wiring and other problems in the building.
J.P. Edwards, the primary contractor, did not secure the necessary permit from the state, but a subcontractor removed the asbestos before the building came down, said Tracey Peedin Jones, spokeswoman for the Johnston County schools. State inspectors then checked on that work.
At first, the school system was reluctant to admit the contractor had dropped the ball. When asked for an electronic copy of the permit, Peedin Jones instead forwarded various asbestos-related documents and inspection documents from the county. One of those documents, from EEC Inc., suggested the contractor might have failed to obtain the required permit.
The school system said it is working to make sure such a mistake doesn’t happen again, Peedin Jones said.
“In an effort to prevent this type of situation in the future, we are reviewing our procedures in partnering with contractors to ensure that Johnston County Schools is following all policies and procedures required,” she said.
Abbie Bennett: 910-849-2827; @AbbieRBennett