MISSOULA – Weeks after the University of Montana announced it was closing McGill Hall after it had been found to be contaminated with dust containing “unacceptable levels of asbestos,” UM now says the building is scheduled to be open again on Monday, March 11.
UM Vice President for Operations and Finance, Paul Lasiter, said in a Thursday release that contractors are finished with cleaning required testing for McGill Hall’s 2nd floor. Cleaning is now taking place on the first floor, which Lasiter says is taking “considerably longer” than the second floor due to a variety of factors, including the need to bring in lifts for high ceilings.
Employees are still being allowed into offices in cleaned areas to retrieve needed items.
Parents have recently expressed frustration at UM officials after their children were possibly exposed to asbestos at ASUM Child Care, which was located in the building. Lanister says they are seeking a new, permanent location for the daycare, with consolidation of former McGill Hall facility and the Craighead facility being discussed as a likely option.
Lasiter says that contractors expect to be done with work on the first floor and receive test results by Thursday, March 8. The first and second floors of McGill will be open for employees to move back in Friday, March 9, and back online the following Monday, March 11, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
McGill’s basement still needs to be cleaned and the crews will continue working in the building to complete that work, which they predict will take another three to four weeks.
“This has been a difficult and uncertain time for those directly affected, and I apologize for that uncertainty and the stress that it has caused,” Lasiter said. “I appreciate the patience, care and helpful actions from members of our community as we work diligently on these challenges.”
You can read the full release below:
Dear Campus Community,
I write today to provide updates on the progress in McGill Hall as well as for a variety of associated issues and concerns. This has been a difficult and uncertain time for those directly affected, and I apologize for that uncertainty and the stress that it has caused. I appreciate the patience, care and helpful actions from members of our community as we work diligently on these challenges. I also want to acknowledge the hard work of the many who have helped to address the concerns of our impacted faculty, staff, students and child care parents. Here’s a brief update on key areas of effort:
McGill Hall Opening
Opening day for McGill Hall will be Monday, March 11. The contractors have completed cleaning and the required testing for the second floor of McGill Hall. They are now cleaning the first floor, which is taking considerably longer than the second floor due to a variety of factors, including the need to bring in lifts for high ceilings. We continue to allow employees with offices in the cleaned areas to access the building to retrieve needed items. The contractors expect to complete work on the first floor and receive the test results by Thursday, March 8. Barring additional unforeseen issues, the first and second floors of McGill will be open for employees to move back in Friday, March 9, and back online the following Monday, March 11. The basement of McGill still needs to be cleaned and the crews will continue working in the building to complete that work, which we predict will take another three to four weeks.
Protocols for Campus Facilities
We’ve received questions from employees about testing, cleaning and asbestos in other buildings on campus. Please know that we are working on all of these areas and hope to have more detailed guidance very soon. Specifically: We are working with a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) on recommendations for possible additional testing in buildings (beyond the required clearance testing we already do). Once a revised protocol is developed, our approach will be shared and posted, along with the decision-supporting rationale.
Likewise, the CIH is advising on deep-cleaning protocols (which are in addition to our regular, routine custodial services) needed to manage dust in our buildings known to contain asbestos.
We are planning to conduct building-specific meetings around the campus to share information about asbestos, occupational risk, asbestos-containing materials in each building, cleaning and testing. Our goal with these meetings is to answer specific questions and provide information about our management approach. We will be working with deans, directors and building contacts to schedule these meetings beginning in the next two to three weeks.
Requesting Visual Inspection for Employee Offices/Workspaces
Last week, Facilities Services sent an email to campus with guidance on how employees should request a visual inspection of their office. There were some questions about “authorized” users in the work desk system. To clarify, most of the administrative support professionals on campus have access to request work via the Facilities Services work order desk and they typically coordinate regular building requests in this manner. We ask that employees use this process for requesting a visual inspection of their office or call the work order desk at 243-6091 to make the request. The individual receiving these phone calls will enter the request into the system and send an email confirming receipt. Facilities Services is identifying additional employees to serve as asbestos inspectors and getting them the required training so that we are able to respond to all requests in a timely manner.
Status of ASUM Child Care
We are actively seeking a new, permanent location for ASUM Child Care. Consolidation of former McGill Hall facility and the Craighead facility is a likely option. We will work with shared governance leaders to fully understand the concerns, needs and ideas for determining an optimal space based on all available options.
We know this work is time-sensitive and we are actively evaluating all options.
The feedback form on the website is still active and being monitored. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the information contained in this email message or if you need additional assistance.
Vice President for Operations and Finance