Asbestos in Venable and Freel? What is happening!

Chloe Golebiewski, Staff Writer

Asbestos has been hiding around MCLA’s campus for quite some time now. What is asbestos, you might ask? Asbestos is a naturally fibrous mineral that occurs in vinyl flooring, ceiling tiles, certain paints, and insulation. It was used many years ago due to its fire-retardant qualities. It turned out that asbestos was highly dangerous to be around once it was disturbed, increasing people’s risk of very serious diseases, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. 

Venable Hall, a popular building at MCLA that includes the mail room and Venable Theatre, was constructed in 1958. During the construction, mastic glue was used on all floor tiles, and its contaminants of asbestos were discovered during a recent testing of the building’s make-up and underwent construction for a few days. 

“The State-mandated process for asbestos removal was followed by abatement company Green Leaf Environmental. The process involves total containment of the work area and setup of a three-stage decontamination unit for personnel and equipment. Once abated, the company removes all containment and disposes of it [the asbestos] properly,” said Robert Fortini, the Interim Director of Facilities at MCLA. 

“Completion of abatement of the ground floor of Venable Hall was finished on Thursday, February 9th, 2023,” he continued. 

Buildings have been tested for the harsh, cancer-causing material over the years, but why was it only found now if it has been tested so many times? 

The MCLA Freel Library was also tested for asbestos, and sure enough, the third floor (also known as the “Quiet Zone” was found to have it in the floor tiles. 

Freel Library is soon undergoing a project to replace all the windows on the top floor with new glass, since the windows were having issues with sealing, causing disturbance to the asbestos floor tiles nearby. Only the floor tiles around the perimeter of the top floor will be replaced during this window project with new asbestos-free tiles, along with replacement of all the carpet on that floor, which will be replaced with a new one. 

The third floor of the library will be undergoing some noisy construction beginning now through June 30th, 2023. The upper level will still be accessible to students at this time to retrieve books and the bathrooms will continue to be open. 

Because of the noise, and the lack of seating, computers, and accessible desks upstairs, the library is asking that you seek an alternate study space during this time. They are currently working with other buildings and departments on campus to set up other quiet spaces for students to study around the campus while this project is happening. There will be more information in the coming future regarding where these spaces will be. 

The construction will be typically running from 7:00am to 5:00pm. This noise and vibration due to the construction might disturb other floors of the library, which may result in temporary relocation of the staff and the services that Freel offers. More information will follow about temporary relocations when there is more information about the construction to be shared. 

Check out @mclalibrary on Instagram and Twitter for updates!