First Safety & Hazardous Materials Workshop a Success!

By Danielle, Executive Director

Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is very lucky to have a historic preservation expert and EPA-certified lead paint renovator as its Statewide Field Representative.  Lynn Stasick’s contracting expertise and knowledge of historic properties has helped countless people all over the state in their efforts to rehabilitate and re-use historic properties.

Preservation Alliance is always thinking of new ways to use Lynn’s skills to help others while in the field.  Lynn frequently gives historic window rehabilitation workshops (in fact, there are two coming up this June).  During the windows workshops, Lynn explains the best practices for rehabilitating wooden windows according to the National Park Service’s Class I, II, and III methods of historic windows restoration and gives a step-by-step demonstration for restoration and weatherization.  Frequently, Lynn allows time during the workshop for hands-on training, and participants have a chance to see how easy it can be to rehabilitate a window.  Recently, we’ve thought of a new way to help people and organizations wanting to tackle a historic preservation project and address their concerns over taking on such a project.

In honor of Historic Preservation Month, Preservation Alliance tried something different.  Lynn developed a new workshop focused on hazardous materials and safety in historic buildings, and the preservation-minded folks in Lewisburg hosted our workshop in the Lewisburg City Council Chambers.  Following the presentation, we all took a short walk over to the Sears House – a 2013 WV Endangered Property – to get a first hand look at best practices in safely approaching a historic building.

This workshop really hit close to home for the participants and for us.  One of the most common concerns that we hear from fledgling preservationists is their worries over hazardous materials – the bad words in historic preservation: lead paint, asbestos, and mold/mildew.  We wanted to create an open conversation about these hazards and let people explain their concerns.  Throughout the presentation, Lynn explained the real safety issues associated with these three problem areas and devoted time to quelling myths and educating participants about how to properly mitigate and safely work in historic buildings with these hazards.  Much was learned by all!

One of the workshop participants, Margaret Hambrick of the Greenbrier County Historical Society taught us something too.  Margaret explained that in West Virginia, prior to ANY renovation or demolition permits being issued, one must perform a test to check for asbestos.  We’ve often heard the excuse that people do not want to engage in historic preservation projects primarily because of asbestos mitigation, but even if one wants to demolish an old building, she/he must still test for asbestos.  As we’ve seen numerous times, many people have strong impressions about working with historic buildings, but they do not have always have all the facts.

Initially, when we developed the plan for the Safety and Hazardous Materials Workshop, we made it open only to representatives from sites listed on the WV Endangered Properties List.  We see the value in having an intimate group participate in a workshop and want participants to have chances to share their thoughts, fears, and knowledge on the topic.  However, we have since decided not to limit our next workshop, which is scheduled for July 26 in Arthurdale from 11am – 5pm.  If you would like to join us at the next Safety and Hazardous Materials Workshop, please send an email to info@pawv.org.  There is a $10 fee for lunch, and Preservation Alliance members may attend the workshop for free.  If you are not a member, there is a $15 fee.  The presentation will be followed by a look at the Arthurdale School Buildings – 2012 WV Endangered Property.

Want to schedule a workshop in your community?  Send an email to info@pawv.org.  We are always happy to travel to new places and work with new faces.

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