Thursday, May 28, 2020
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Update on the state of rowland hall

by Christina Acevedo

In response to the recent concerns regarding the allegedly dangerous amounts of asbestos discovered in Rowland Hall during construction, James S. Nowick, Department of Chemistry chair, has indicated that the building is and has been safe throughout construction.

“Air quality in all publicly accessible spaces has met or exceeded all applicable standards at all times,” Nowick said. “The Department of Chemistry places the highest priority on safety of all students, faculty and staff.”

Rowland Hall has been undergoing construction since October of 2018 under the Rowland Hall Fire Life Safety Improvement project. This project aims to improve fire safety in the building by adding fire sprinklers.

During this process, “an elevated concentration of fibers was identified in an air sample taken on December 12; the fibers were determined to be from non-asbestos materials (ceiling tile or plaster, both of which do not contain asbestos),” explained Nowick. He assured that throughout construction, asbestos levels have been monitored whenever related work has taken place.

In addition, the Rowland Hall Fire Life Safety Improvement Phase 1 web page, located on the Division of Finance and Administration website, states that safety regulations include the use of certified asbestos consultants as well as people certified in asbestos removal for all asbestos-related work.

In an effort to avoid misunderstandings among faculty and staff and alleviate safety concerns Nowick indicated that the department is working towards enhancing communication, particularly through the website. As monitoring of asbestos levels continues, students and faculty can look to the website to view reports on air quality.

Construction is expected to finish by July of this year.