FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Updating school buildings that may contain lead-based paint is a problem across North Carolina.
Cumberland County has identified 29 schools that are in need of various repairs, each built before lead-based paint regulations were in place.
Cumberland Mills Elementary is one of the schools on the list which is in need of repairs.
The district says they’re working to remodel the buildings, but funding is an issue.
Brick by brick, dozens of Cumberland County schools were built before 1978, possibly using lead based paint inside and out.
The school district says that currently lead levels appear normal but they’d like to update the buildings as soon as possible to prevent any health hazards.
“It’s a concern and we wanna stay ahead of it and not let it be a bigger problem,” said Greg West, a member of the Cumberland County Board of Education.
Over the last few months, crews replaced door frames, windows and paint at Montclair Elementary.
The price tag came to $100,000.
Tim Kinlaw leads the district’s auxiliary service and says lead remediation is a complicated process.
“When we find loose or chipping paint or molding and actually remove that, and then we come in with new primers to contain any lead,” said Tim Kinlaw, Cumberland County associated superintendent.
Last year, an environmental study at Owen Elementary found lead hazards. But student blood tests and water samples came back normal.
Kinlaw says the department of health and human services inspects these buildings throughout the year.
“If there is an area of concern, we need to keep the kids away from it,” West said. “And we do that. We don’t let them play outside or run outside the windows.”
Currently, the district is working to repair six schools.
The district estimates it could cost $169 million to update all of the 29 in need.
Here is the list of the 29 schools:
- College Lakes
- Cumberland Mills
- Cumberland Road
- District 7
- Eastover Central
- Glendale Acres
- Gray’s Creek
- Morganton Road
- Raleigh Road
- Sherwood Park
- Stedman Primary