FAQ: Hazardous Materials, Demolition of Existing Buildings, and Mitigation of Impacts of Demolition and Construction

For an update on the abatement and removal of hazardous material from Alan Harvey Theater, see the H1 Update Abatement of Hazardous Material dated March 27, 2019.

October 2018

Are there hazardous materials in Alan Harvey Theater and the PHS Administration building?   

Yes.  The District works closely with Milani & Associates, a certified environmental hygiene firm, on all facilities projects to ensure proper identification, containment, and removal of hazardous materials.  The firm conducted a thorough survey of Alan Harvey Theater (AHT) and the Piedmont High School Administration Building and determined that both buildings contain materials with very low levels of hazardous materials including asbestos (in vinyl composition tile and mastic), mercury (in thermostats), and lead (in paint).  (Pre-Demolition Hazardous Material Survey Report (Administration Building), Pre-Demolition Hazardous Material Survey Report (AHT).)  The asbestos-containing materials are non-friable, meaning that they cannot easily be crumbled or reduced to airborne particles.

Who will remove and dispose of the hazardous material?

The District will use a competitive bidding process to select a specialized “hazmat” contractor to do this work.  During the Seismic Safety Bond Program and subsequent Facilities Modernization Program, the District worked with a licensed, professional “hazmat” contractor with extensive experience working with schools.  Such specialized firms ensure full compliance with all state and federal health and safety requirements.  

Will the removal of hazardous materials be monitored for safety?

Yes.  Throughout the abatement and demolition phase, Milani & Associates will have a certified environmental hygienist on site to manage and supervise the work.  The hygienist will be on site full-time during the abatement phase, and part-time during demolition. In addition, the California Division of State Architect (DSA) will have a full-time inspector on site throughout the project, from the start of abatement through completion.  

Throughout this work, negative air machines will filter the air inside the buildings, ensuring that no air escapes.  The hygienist will perform inspections, air quality monitoring, and post-abatement testing for these projects, and confirm in writing that the abatement has been completed prior to demolition.  

Even after the abatement is completed, the District will install air quality monitors around the site perimeter and measure air quality throughout demolition.  


Will students and staff be on campus during the abatement of hazardous materials?  

Yes and no.  When AHT is closed in the Spring of 2019, the theater site will be cordoned off from the rest of the campus.  Initially, fixtures, lighting systems, and other features that can be reused in the new theater will be “salvaged” and removed.  After salvage is completed, the specialized hazmat contractor will contain and remove the hazardous materials. This abatement will be entirely inside AHT and will proceed largely unnoticed by students and staff.  

After the 2019-20 school year, when the STEAM building is nearing completion, the District will relocate all classrooms and offices out of the PHS Administration building.  During the summer of 2020, when no students and staff are on campus, the District will remove hazardous materials from the Administration Building.

Will students be on campus during demolition?  

The bulk of demolition will be completed over the 2019 Spring Break (AHT) and the summer of 2020 (PHS Administration building).  If AHT is not entirely demolished over the 2019 Spring Break (AHT is a stout concrete structure that will be challenging to demolish in one week), the District will work out a schedule to complete the demolition with the least disruption for students and campus life.   

Demolishing AHT during the Spring of 2019, rather than waiting until the end of the school year, will help keep the STEAM project on schedule for completion before the 2020-21 school year.  

What will the District do to mitigate noise, dust, and pollution during demolition and construction?   

Throughout the demolition and construction phases, the District will follow industry and legal standards to mitigate construction-related noise and dust, including use of water to keep the site wet and thereby reduce dust, and fencing and screening of staging and work areas.  The team will also implement and maintain a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program to filter dirt and debris from water that flows from the site into the storm drain.

How will the District address traffic and congestion along Magnolia Avenue, particularly during PMS’ morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up?

The District is working with the City of Piedmont to plan for and mitigate the demolition- and construction-related impacts on parking and traffic along Magnolia Avenue.

First, the District will re-route large trucks making deliveries to the District away from Magnolia Avenue.  Currently, large trucks make deliveries to PHS and PMS throughout weekdays and park or double-park along Magnolia.  Starting in March 2019 and continuing through completion of the new buildings, large-truck deliveries will be made to a location offsite and then shuttled in smaller vehicles (such as pick-up trucks) to the Magnolia Campus.  

Second, no construction workers will be permitted to park on Magnolia Avenue.  All contractors and subcontractors will have off-site parking (most likely on Moraga Avenue along the cemetery wall), with shuttle service to and from the work sites.

Third, the District and City will likely reconfigure Magnolia Avenue, preserving two lanes of traffic but eliminating some parking.  The District will install “K rails” (barriers used for lane separation and pedestrian safety in construction areas) on the PMS side of the street to encourage a dedicated drop-off/pick-up lane.  The District plans to have staff (“flagmen”) along Magnolia for an initial period after making any parking and traffic changes in order to establish safe practices during the busy morning and afternoon periods.  

Fourth, some parking spaces along Magnolia will be temporarily eliminated to alleviate congestion.  The District is working with the City to develop this plan.

What will the District do to secure the work areas?

There will be a fence enclosing the work areas throughout demolition and construction, with gates that will be locked during non-working hours.  Access to the site will be limited to authorized construction personnel only, and security cameras will be in place to monitor the site 24 hours per day.   

Will the District communicate with neighbors about these issues?

Yes.  Starting in January or February of 2019, the District will communicate and work with neighbors of the Magnolia Campus regarding the impacts of demolition and construction, and changes to parking and traffic.