The BCC Board made a decision in 2021 to be proactive in testing for, uncovering, and documenting potentially hazardous materials in our community Clubhouse, a building some of which was constructed in the 1890’s and the rest in the early 1900’s. Given the age of the building, it is not surprising that we have found some building materials that contain asbestos and lead paint. Notwithstanding the presence of those hazardous materials in the building, generations of children have passed through the building safely. Current regulations require mandatory blood testing of each child for lead exposure each school year, and we have had no reports of any children at our Nursery School with elevated lead levels.
However, given that the building is in constant need of maintenance and repairs, we decided to engage an environmental testing firm to ascertain the actual conditions throughout the building, and to provide expert written guidance for remediation and onsite supervision of contractor work, where applicable. We wanted to ensure that any repairs to areas with lead or asbestos would be undertaken by certified, qualified contractors. Extensive testing was done throughout and samples sent to registered labs for analysis. We will soon have produced a comprehensive map identifying potential hazards both inside and outside the building to inform future restoration and repair projects.
One area that was identified with higher-than-acceptable levels of lead is the rear playground, where the soil below the mulch was found to have lead content above the allowable limit. No one can definitively identify the source or age of the lead contamination; it may be attributable to old playground equipment that is no longer there, or pre-existing background lead levels common in infill soil, or some other source. Nevertheless, we will soon be stabilizing the playground through an EPA-approved guideline, which directs that we cover the existing mulch with six inches of new mulch. This project will be overseen by our environmental expert and will be completed before the start of the school year. In the meantime, we have posted signs on the playground advising the community not to use this space until the new mulch is added. Another area that we will address, again following EPA guidelines, is the building’s rear storage porch, which is adjacent to the Nursery School’s Mighty Oaks classroom for four- and five-year-olds. We hope to complete this work in August.
There are also other areas, which do not present exposure to children, that we intend to remediate or stabilize as our operating budget funds allow. We have just completed a $47,000 mold remediation and restoration project in the Grillroom that was necessitated by a persistent (now repaired) roof leak. Our BCC bank account has been seriously depleted by all these repairs. We need to build back our operating funds before we can do any more remediation work.
Please consider this letter as our effort to be transparent about the condition of the building and to provide you with a view into our current efforts and our future intentions. We are, of course, always most appreciative of donations to BCC so that we can do as much as possible to meet our obligations to maintain our historic Clubhouse. With best wishes to all for a great end of summer.
On behalf of the BCC Board,
Susan Wexler – President, Bannockburn Community Club
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Bannockburn Community Club
6314 Bannockburn Drive
Bethesda, MD 20817