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Drywall at charter schools comes from America, not China

By Staff | Jan 14, 2009

Responding to a request from Cape Coral Mayor Jim Burch earlier this week, officials at Haskell Co. said Wednesday the drywall they used in constructing three charter schools for the city from 2004 to 2006 was manufactured in North America, not China.
Drywall from China, specifically from the Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co., has been linked to complaints in South Florida of foul odors and the corrosion of air conditioning coils. Health officials at the state and federal level are looking into whether there are any health risks related to the drywall.
“We have no indication from our records of any Chinese drywall,” said David Balz, senior vice president of Haskell.
He added that the drywall used to construct Oasis Charter Elementary School, Oasis Charter Middle School and Christa McAuliffe Charter Elementary School was manufactured in the United States and Canada.
A small amount of drywall used for part of Jim Jeffers Park is also from North America. Joe Stonis Park and the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility and Processing Plant, also built by Haskell, contain no drywall, Balz said.
Burch said he is pleased at the answer from Haskell, but the city’s review of drywall in city buildings will continue.
“You have to take that as a positive answer,” Burch said of Haskell’s response. “Any building that we own or rent or do business in, of course we want verification (there is not Chinese drywall),” he added.
While no health hazards have been found as a result of the drywall, Burch applauded Haskell’s quick reply to his inquiry about the city’s charter schools.
“First and foremost we wanted to find out about the schools. I certainly appreciate their rapid response. They obviously cared about the situation,” Burch said.
Burch sent a memo to City Manager Terry Stewart on Monday, who contacted Haskell officials Tuesday.
“Any time the issue of a school is involved you want to be prompt,” Balz said.
Bernard Dougherty, chairman of the charter school authority’s governing board, said he is relieved Chinese drywall is not in the charter schools.
“That is great to see,” Dougherty said upon reviewing an e-mail from Haskell.
He added that Chinese drywall should not be a problem for the new charter high school.
“There’s not that much construction going on. I think we’ll get the highest quality product from every builder,” Dougherty said.