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No serious problems found in assessment of Opera House

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
March 11, 2001
An environmental assessment of the Marks-Rothenberg and Grand Opera House buildings turned up no serious problems, as was expected.
Engineering Plus professionals who completed the report say they found no surprises. Landscape architect Liz Dudley said it is a Phase I assessment without a lot of in-depth study.
Researching the buildings' past owners and past uses helped determine whether hazardous materials had been stored there, she said. They checked state databases, looking for potential hazards such as underground storage tanks.
She said a curtain in one of the buildings is made of an asbestos material to stop fire but may not have to come down. Specialists may be able to coat the curtain and render it harmless.
The assessment concluded there should be a Phase II study. Professionals licensed in asbestos abatement will be working on that phase, Dudley said.
The report, which includes all research results and a brief of the buildings, has been given to Mississippi State University officials. They have turned it in to officials at the Mississippi Institute of Higher Learning for approval.
Lauderdale County supervisors also have a copy of the assessment on file at their offices on the 11th floor of the courthouse annex. County Administrator Rex Hiatt said it isn't allowed out of the office, but anyone may read it there.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her atsblackmon@themeridianstar.com.