Asbestos at California State University in Chico is holding up remodeling efforts at many of the school’s older buildings, prompting students and faculty to express their concerns about the dangers of exposure to the toxic material.
According to an article in the student publication The Orion, the university has been unable to do repairs on several buildings because of the presence of asbestos in the ceilings and other places throughout the structures. For example, lighting in the school’s Butte Hall has been a persistent problem, but because of asbestos in the ceiling tiles, the school has been unable to solve the problem without employing expensive solutions.
?he asbestos in Butte is not harmful to students as long as it is held in place,?said Joe Wills, director of Public Affairs and Publications.
However, the asbestos is preventing repair of lights and ballasts that control the electrical current, said James Jessee, director of Academic Publications, Facilities and Database Operations. ?lthough the asbestos in the building is contained, we have not been able to do any remodeling in the building for years,?he stressed. ?e?e afraid to create a big problem.?
Jessee estimates complete renovation of the building, including proper asbestos removal by a licensed abatement company, would cost more than $50 million.
School officials maintain that not all the lighting problems are caused by asbestos. Some may be simply a matter of no one turning in a work order to fix the problem. However, according to political science professor Robert Jackson, whose classroom is in Butte Hall, the presence of asbestos is getting “harder and harder to ignore.”
Jackson adds that many of the building’s classrooms are in the same condition they were in 35 years ago and are getting worse.