Frankford High School – Home

June 11, 2024

Dear Frankford and Clemente school communities,

As you near the end of this school year, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your patience, cooperation, and adaptability this school year as you transitioned to temporary learning spaces while we developed a plan to address the environmental concerns in Frankford’s main building.  I would also like to acknowledge and offer special thanks to the leaders and school community at Roberto Clemente for their partnership and continued welcome of Frankford 9th graders and staff.

Your health and safety is our top priority, and today I am confident we have a plan to fully reopen Frankford.

We have begun a $19.9 million project that should enable us to reopen the main part of the building at the start of the 2025-26 school year. This reopening plan will address the damaged asbestos and improve and refresh the main portion of the 108-year-old building from the ground to the fourth floor, as the District strives to provide healthy, welcoming learning spaces.

The work has begun with the imaging of the building to photograph and document all of the current spaces, without disturbing materials. The asbestos abatement, which will involve some repair, removal, and enclosure, will begin once the current school year ends.  All asbestos abatement work will be done during the summer or after school hours when no students and staff are in the building.

The plan to address the environmental concerns and improve the building includes:

  • Removal of plaster ceiling in corridor and classrooms
  • Enclosure of asbestos materials, including installing laminate panels over plaster walls in corridors and classrooms. Unlike sheetrock, this material is easy to clean, and resistant to damage and was used in the District’s newest school, TM Peirce.
  • Removal of vinyl asbestos tile floor tile in the basement

Once the asbestos work is completed, the building will be refreshed with new ceilings in corridors and classrooms and LED energy efficient light fixtures. All corridors and classrooms will be painted or have new coating. Existing wood floors will be refinished and new vinyl tile flooring will replace asbestos containing tiles in the cafeteria spaces on the ground floor.

The District weighed several options in developing this plan. These options considered the extent of work necessary to be able to reopen and maintain a healthy learning environment, the storied history of the facility, and the budget constraints and balancing needs of the District as a whole. A full demolition and new construction would have exceeded $300 million and taken many years, and gutting the building and rebuilding from the inside likewise would have taken years and was prohibitively expensive at more than $160 million. The plan developed with the investment of nearly $20 million from Capital funds enables the environmental abatement and significant improvements and will allow students and staff to return to their building in the 2025-26 school year.

Once reopened, the District will continue to work to maintain and improve conditions at Frankford. A new HVAC system could not be included in the current work due to funding constraints, and replacement remains a priority.

Though much of the asbestos-containing materials in Frankford will be removed or fully sealed during this project, some asbestos containing materials will remain in the building. The presence of asbestos itself is not a health hazard; it is when it becomes airborne that it can be a concern. Frankford will undergo twice-yearly inspection to check on the condition of asbestos materials so they can be maintained in good condition.

In the past two years, the District has invested tens of millions of dollars to improve its asbestos management program – and the result has been the maintaining of healthier spaces because of the identification of areas where asbestos damage needed to be addressed.

We met today with school leaders to provide a progress report and will continue to meet with them quarterly. I know you may have questions throughout the process, and we will continue to provide updates  to keep you informed and provide a forum to address any concerns.

I bid you all a rejuvenating summer break.



Chief Operating Officer