Asbestos issues at the Prins Willem Alexander School

Former Prime Minister (PM) William Marlin

~ Will be handled  by professionals prior to any demolition works been carried out.~

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten –– During the “design & preparation” phase of the New Prins Willem Alexander School , it was made known that asbestos might be present in the existing structure, due to the fact that the school was constructed in the 1970’s in a time when the material was used widely around the world. Professionals

In order not to take any risks, an asbestos investigation was commissioned by Government and executed by Royal Haskoning DHV & Sanitas Milieukunding Adviesbureau BV from the Netherlands in March of 2015. The investigation brought forth the presence of asbestos in the roof guttering and wall paneling of several classrooms at the Prins Willem Alexander school.

However, it was indicated by the specialist from the Netherlands that the asbestos containing material is none-friable. Which means, the structure of which the asbestos is made up inside of the material will not be released unless damaged or tampered with as a result of reconstruction or demolition of the structure.

As the assignment for the construction of the New Prins Willem Alexander School has been awarded, it is a condition that the asbestos containing material will be removed prior to any demolition works been carried out at the school. This is a norm that is been upheld and is internationally applied once asbestos has been detected.

According to the standardize international norm for the removal of asbestos, this must be executed and removed by a firm that is specialize in the removal of asbestos taking the environmental and health issues into consideration. A firm specialized in the removal of asbestos internationally, is been assigned by Government and will be specifically flown in to St. Maarten, whereas the removal and the handling of the asbestos will be done accordingly in consideration with the logistics in and around the area, taking into considering the concerns of of all parties.

Removal of the asbestos will be done by containment and should take approximately one (1) week to complete. Materials and fibers which has been removed from the school will be transported and shipped for processing to the Netherlands. Independent Consulting Engineers (ICE) along with Royal Haskoning DHV from the Netherlands have been charged with the supervision of the asbestos removal on behalf of Government and will be overseen by the Ministry of VROMI and the Ministry of ECYS as the Principal of the project.

Once it has been established that the area has been cleared of the asbestos containing materials, only then will the existing school and it’s entire structure be demolished.

The contractor,  Designer’s Choice NV who was awarded the construction of the New Prins Willem Alexander School, in the meantime will be removing small items which are asbestos free  (doors, windows, toilets, face basins, fans, air conditioning units, steel grills etc..) and is in good condition for salvaging prior to demolition of the structure.

In connection with the continuance of the project, the pupils of the current Prins Willem Alexander school have been located to the Alma Fleming Educational Care Facilities in Belvedere.

Further questions about the abovementioned procedure and process can be obtained at the Ministry of VROMI, Department of New Projects by Ms. Rena Richardson, Project Manager or Mr. Kurt A. Ruan, Department head of New Projects at tel. 54-26737.