MAPS renovation offers no hope for clinic at Oklahoma City school

The $4.4 million renovation of Emerson Alternative High School does not include rebuilding the old health clinic. Officials say it won't be included because it isn't part of the school right now.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: June 13, 2011

The improved Emerson is expected to open in late 2012 or early 2013.

The old health clinic and other decaying outbuildings will be trashed.

There are a couple of spots on campus that could serve as a clinic, but the cost is too high, Wenger said. The best option is the deserted boiler room downstairs. But the walls are stuffed with asbestos and the room is stuffed with ancient, hulking machines. School officials walled it off.

Cleaning up asbestos is expensive, and the asbestos in Emerson isn't dangerous to students right now, Wenger said.

It's in a stable, protected state. The dangerous chemicals aren't breaking apart and spreading to the air.

Advocates say the asbestos should be removed regardless of the boiler room's use.

“You ought to be getting rid of the asbestos anyway because it's the right thing to do when you have all these young lives in your hands,” said Dr. Lauranne Harris, an obstetrician who has volunteered at Emerson for years.

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