The following is an update on the Carney Library closure from Deb McLaughlin, COO and Vice Chancellor. It was sent to the campus community on the evening of Tuesday, August 21st.
“Floors 4 and 5 are reopening to the public tomorrow. Floor 3 has also been given a “temporary certification of occupancy” as part of ongoing construction, and we expect that construction Floors 1 and 2 will continue on schedule. We still plan on opening the Library on schedule in time for the Fall Semester.
Today, we brought local media into the Library for a tour of affected and unaffected areas, and we held a staff meeting for all current and future Library occupants.
At today’s meeting, our colleagues asked questions that we believe all members of the campus community – staff, faculty, students and their parents – might ask if they were in the room. Therefore, we are providing a list “frequently asked questions” below, which we will also be posting in public areas.
During re-roofing operations of a small section of the main library roof, the temporary measures that were installed during the previous day’s operations by the roofing subcontractor were overwhelmed during Wednesday morning’s storm. The above average rainfall (2-inches in under an hour) infiltrated mechanical shafts and affected areas mainly on the 5th and 4th floors. As a result of the breach, water caused minor damage to an isolated amount of ceiling and carpet tiles, pipe insulation, shaft wall and fire alarm and electrical system components. Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the response to the incident was swift and comprehensive, the building was evacuated. Emergency specialists were immediately contacted and repair work started immediately.
Did this affect health and safety?
There have been no reports of any individual’s health or safety being compromised during or after the incident. Testing has shown that air quality remained healthy at all times. The University, in fact, tested for 23 different potential hazards (rust, mold, moisture, etc.) and the results provided confidence that people could safely return to the building.
What is the University doing to follow up on health and safety issues?
Multiple air quality tests have been completed by two different companies (Cashins for the contractor and Mabbett for the University) and overseen by a third firm, ATC, hired by the state Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM). University testing has shown that the air quality inside the building is actually better than the air outside the building. The technical reports are available for anybody wishing to read them. We are also asking DCAM to have the contractor carry out additional tests as the construction continues, again out of an abundance of caution.
Should we be concerned about mold growing in the months and years to come as a result of this incident?
There is no reason to believe this incident will have any long-term effect on air quality in the building.
What kind of damage was done, and who is going to pay for it?
DCAM is working on an estimate of damage costs. The University is compiling costs related to employees not being able to work while the library was closed. Due to the contract we signed with DCAM, we do not expect the University will pay any of the costs of the repair work.
Who should we notify if we notice something relative to health and safety?
Please immediately inform you supervisor who should bring the issue to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at X8176.
How are payroll issues being addressed?
In general, people who could not work as a result of the incident will be paid in full for work time lost. For information related to a specific employee, please contact the Office of Human Resources at X8060.
Will there be any system shutdowns in the future?
No additional system-wide shutdowns are expected, however, as a normal part of the ongoing construction process there may be brief, occasional and partial shutdowns for testing or maintenance.
Why didn’t the University provide more details sooner?
The practice of the University is to provide information as facts become known. In this case, our top priority was evacuating people from the building to assure a safe and timely cleanup, then gathering the facts in order to inform the campus community. Facts were made available to every member of the campus community and the media as they became known.”