When you're in a hurry, two contractors are better than one.

That was the feeling of the Decorah School Board Monday night, as it approved asbestos abatement bids to two separate contractors.

The first bid went to AAA Budget Environmental of Cedar Falls in the amount of $12,214, and the second bid was awarded to Environmental Management Services of Iowa, Davenport, for $8,700.

"The time it (awarding two bids) will save us to do this is appreciable," said Superintendent Mike Haluska.

The bids include abatement of the current kitchen, study hall, east hallway and classrooms of Tim Hayes, Elaine Lore, Tom Houdek, Michelle Monreal and Marie Conway.

According to District Grounds and Building Manager Greg Schaller, the abatement will begin by Dec. 22 and be completed by Dec. 28, with air quality testing being completed by Jan. 6 at the latest.

"We've also put some heavy fines on them, too, if they run past the deadline," said Schaller.

Schaller explained all areas being worked on will be completely contained and will pose no safety risk to any faculty, staff or students using the building over Christmas break.

"We're trying to get a lot done in a very short amount of time," said Schaller.

Other construction

Schaller explained while the high school's geothermal heating and cooling system is partially online, it will taka couple of weeks for everything to be up and running.

The front office areas will be the first to be heated, as they are currently without central heat, and are utilizing only space heaters.

Schaller said he hopes to have the rest of the geothermal working throughout the building before school resumes after Christmas break, Jan. 7.

He said crews are working on installing sound panels and hauling heating equipment, and the new floor received five coats of wax over the weekend.

"Some equipment will be hooked up over Christmas break, but we're hoping to have the counters, cabinetry, lights and ceilings in before the fire marshal comes in on the 19th (of December)," said Schaller.

Following installation, a cleaning crew will be coming in to ready the spaces for the last items, such as the new trophy cases.

Principal Kim Sheppard said the students will each attend orientation regarding the new cafeteria/commons setup prior to leaving for Christmas break.

She said the new system will allow for longer lunch periods and eliminate mid-day classes of different lengths.