12/22/11 — W.A. Foster closed for asbestos testing

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W.A. Foster closed for asbestos testing

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on December 22, 2011 1:46 PM

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The W.A. Foster Center on South Leslie Street has been closed by city officials after it was determined that asbestos might pose a health threat. The center is one of the most used recreation spots in Goldsboro.

The W.A. Foster Recreation Center will be closed indefinitely due to concerns about asbestos that arose from an inspection Wednesday afternoon.

A structural engineer who evaluated the plausibility of installing a new gymnasium floor last week approved the structure, but voiced concern about asbestos. A contractor visited the center Wednesday at 3 p.m. and determined that the facility should be closed pending laboratory results.

"We closed it out of caution until we can confirm it or deny it," city Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said.

The results are expected Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, he said.

If the results come back showing there is asbestos in the center, it could be closed for months, throwing the fate of the department's basketball leagues and fitness and cooking classes into jeopardy. Barnard said staff members have been contacting the school system and other entities in hopes that some of the programs can be relocated elsewhere.

During the closure, W.A. Foster staff members have been reassigned to assist with other programs.

Barnard said while there was a chance the asbestos scare could amount to nothing, his staff is preparing for bad news since he doubts the concerns from the contractor came out of nowhere.

"We're hoping for the best-case scenario, but preparing for the worst-case scenario," he said, adding that the possible long-term closure of the center could have a big effect on summer program planning .

W.A. Foster sees a very steady number of patrons, especially children after school. Last January, the department recorded 4,735 visitors to the center.