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Westford City Officials Look to Renovate Historic Buildings — Asbestos Poses Problems

Residents of Westford, Massachusetts are proud of the Roudenbush Community Center building that has brought so much enjoyment to the area after it was converted to a community center in the mid 1970s. It was originally built as a private school, and, at the time, the designers spared no expense. The building was intricately designed and filled with architectural treasures. Even the railings on the staircases feature detailed carvings done entirely by hand.

vintage-hotel-1380443-mWhile the building has been added to the historic registry, it has become a victim of its age, and it is starting to deteriorate to the point where it is causing safety concerns among residents and town officials.   For this reason, town residents are pushing their elected officials to allocate enough money from budget to restore the building to its former glory. However, due to the high cost and amount of work involved, the town officials are not sure what they will be able to do, according to a recent news article from Wicked Local Westford.

Among the major concerns is how to deal with the asbestos that is known to be in the walls, ceilings, and floors of the old building, as well as in many other parts of the facility.   This building was built during a time when asbestos and asbestos-laden products were use in just about every aspect of residential and commercial construction. Asbestos has a remarkable ability to resist heat, fire, electricity, and caustic chemicals, and, to the surprise of many, is a naturally occurring mineral composed of six silica-based elements.

However, while the natural resistance is one of the once sought-after properties of asbestos, it was the fact that asbestos has an incredible ability to act as a binding agent that is was used so extensively during the industrial revolution and post-industrial revolution period. Asbestos could be used in products like drywall joint compounds or a product known as gun plastic cement. Boston mesothelioma injury lawyers have dealt with numerous cases in which asbestos used as a joint compound caused workers to develop malignant mesothelioma after inhaling the deadly asbestos fibers.

Once the fibers are inhaled, they can become embedded in a layer of tissue known as the mesothelium, where they can metastasize into malignant mesothelioma. If the mesothelioma occurs in the in the lungs, it is known as malignant pleural mesothelioma; however, mesothelioma tumors can also be located in the chest or abdomen.

With respect to the old community center, while there are many who support renovating the old building, the residents have agreed to spend just over $150,000 of the town’s recourses on the project, while the expected total cost to complete the asbestos abatement process and construction work is just more than $8 million. This obvious difference between the money allocated and the actual cost has left town officials unsure how they will be able proceed, but they are going to weigh all of their options and do whatever can be done to save the old community center.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional resources:

Westford officials mull upgrades to historic Roudenbush building, December 3, 2015, Wicked Local Westford

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Mesothelioma Lawsuits for Shipyard Workers, July 30, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog