Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Building Continues at Potentially Toxic Site in Elmhurst

In response to the potentially toxic soil underneath the construction site of the Corona Park High Schools, located at 45-10 94th Street, I ventured over and received a hard-hat tour of the four story building by George Mantis of M.A. Angeliades, the contractor for the project.

Mantis dismissed the claim that seepage from the demolished factory on Corona Avenue at 90th Street - which as of Monday, currently had Stop Work Order posted - has contaminated his construction site's already-tested soil.

A project of this enormity takes up to two to three years to complete, but union workers are logging double and triple shifts to make the deadline, according to Mantis. Approximately 250 construction workers were on the site working on various levels and sections of the former leather factory. The project began in July 2007 and faces a staggering completion date of August 2008.

"I want to cry every time we come here," said Mantis. "It's impossible to do this job in 13 months."

Although only a shell of the school is erected, teachers and principals have been assigned and the doors must open next August. The building will house several high schools, alleviating the overflow of area students.

"We are surgical, and always on time," said Mantis. "[An unmet deadline] hasn't happened in 15 years, and I hope this is not going to be the first. That's why I'm here."

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