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Fono building demolition

[photo: Blue Chen-Fruean]

The Fono Building in Fagatogo will be demolished as soon as a "Notice to Proceed" is issued. So says an official from Paramount Builders, responding to Samoa News inquiries yesterday afternoon.

Paramount Builders won the contract for the demolition job, beating out a handful of other local companies. The total award amount is $135,015

According to Paramount officials, the proper steps need to be taken before any demolition work can begin. This includes a walk-through by experts from off island to conduct an assessment of the asbestos levels, among other things.

Earlier this year in June, the Department of Health stopped all work at the Fono building and taped off the structure due to health concerns over the amount of dust being emitted from the site.

Signs were posted on the doors that read: "DANGER" ASBESTOS, Cancer and Lung Disease Hazard, KEEP OUT, AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.

Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious and fatal illnesses including lung cancer, mesothelioma, etc.

Currently, Fono business is being conducted elsewhere.

The Senate conducts hearings inside the Fono's Samoan Guest fale — which was recently renovated (or a re-build) by Paramount Builders — while the House of Representatives is utilizing the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium (Fale Laumei) in Utulei.

Historic Preservation Officer David Herdrich, who heads the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office (ASHPO) plans to take snapshots of the building before it is torn down. And while the building is considered by many to be a landmark, Herdrich said yesterday that the structure is not officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.