The low bid accepted for asbestos abatement at the Decorah High School is below estimate.

The Decorah School Board Monday agreed to contract Affordable Hazards Removal Inc. of Monticello for $55,982. The work will be done before the high school renovation project begins. It's scheduled to start June 1 and will take two to three weeks to complete.

Superintendent Mike Haluska told the Board

Tom Haas of Haasco Limited of Dyersville estimated it would cost $70,000 to remove the asbestos.

Haas did the asbestos inspection at the high school to identify asbestos-containing materials that needed abatement.

Other bids submitted for the project were Environmental Management Service of Iowa, Dubuque, $58,325; and Advanced Environmental of Waterloo, $85,950. Haluska said he consulted with Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials about the credentials of the low bidders and was told both firms were equally qualified to do the work.

Affordable Hazards Removal also did work in the former East Side School, and the District had no problems with the firm's performance, according to Board member Ramona Nelson.

"I see no reason not to take the low bid," Haluska said.

DHS bid date

A bid opening for the high school renovation was scheduled for Thursday, May 19, at 2 p.m., with a bid expected to be accepted at 5 p.m. that day. The project calls for new fitness and locker rooms that will be built for additional safety in the event of a tornado and can accommodate more than 1,000 people, according to Nick Hildebrandt of StruXture Architects of Waterloo.

Budget approved

There were no public comments during the Board's public hearing on the proposed 2011-2012 budget. It calls for a property tax rate of $16.74 per $1,000 of taxable value - a 91-cent increase from the current tax rate. The increase is due to the voter-approved bond issue in September for the high school project.

"Were it not for that, the general tax levy would have remained the same as it is this year," Haluska told the Board.