Saginaw, MI - The recent finding of asbestos fire-proofing on steel beams inside the massive former Saginaw Centre will not only add over three-quarters of a million dollars to the overall project, but will cause significant cut backs to the new parking lot.
Razing the former Saginaw Centre is just one piece in a much larger, economically driven project that includes the demolition of the Saginaw Plaza Hotel and drastic updating of an adjacent parking lot. The scope of the overall project covers nearly six acres where newly constructed and renovated parking will allow greater access to The Dow Event Center.
Originally estimated at $4.8 million, the asbestos removal process or abatement will another $800,000 to the total budget. Saginaw County officials along with the project management team did not anticipate the discovery of asbestos in a building constructed in 1972.
Saginaw County has already engaged an asbestos abatement company, AKT Peerless Environmental and Energy Services to oversee the safe and controlled removal of the toxin from the steel I-beams in the former Saginaw Centre. Removal of the asbestos will begin immediately and will take until November to be completed.
Unfortunately, the discovery of the asbestos in the fire-proofing of the steel I-beams will cause the project to reduce the overall budget to meet the new financial needs. Specifically, to allay the costs, replacement lighting fixtures from a nearby parking lot renovation project will not be purchased or installed. The original plan was to convert existing fixtures to more energy efficient LED models. Though holding off on replacing outdated lighting does not fully cover the new asbestos abatement costs, and project leaders are examining what other possible cutbacks can be taken place.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen, linked to several forms of cancer including mesothelioma and lung cancer. Development of cancer is caused by exposure to the loosened or friable substance, where small asbestos fibers can become lodged in the protective lining of the lungs, heart or stomach.
Commonly found in structures of the era of the Saginaw Centre, asbestos was mainly used for its natural properties including heat resistance and insulation, but also because it was an inexpensive yet versatile material with varying applications. Asbestos was frequently used in building materials either on its own or combined with another material.