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February 22--  Some parents in Vidalia are concerned that asbestos may be a problem when renovation work starts on a local primary school.

The Vidalia City School system is planning a major remodeling project this year at the J.D. Dickerson Primary School.  A group of parents with students at the school met with School Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith Tuesday morning.

"These parents are concerned that when we start removing it (asbestos) they don't want their children anywhere near it and I can certainly understand that," Dr. Smith said.

Many older buildings like those at Dickerson contain asbestos and Dr. Smith say they inspect regularly.  "The asbestos has been there we know since the building was built.  We've got records going back to 1988 where it was found and has been encapsulated.  Asbestos is not dangerous as long as it's not loose in the air," he noted.

Dr. Smith promises that any work scheduled around areas with asbestos will not be done with students on campus.  "I've got a call to the architect and the contractor and we're trying to work out a schedule so that the asbestos will not be removed while the children are in the building.  It may be possible to do it during Spring break," he says.

Dr. Smith hopes the project will be finished before the start of the next school year.  When it's finished, he says the only school in the system with any asbestos will be Vidalia High School.