UPDATED: Faculty and staff to reoccupy Science Building in late April

Part of the SF State Science Building will reopen this spring after the discovery of toxic chemicals prompted its closure earlier this year, according to SF State President Leslie E. Wong.

“Remediation work is under way, and subject to no further discoveries of problems,” said Wong. “We will restore the building to partial use beginning in late April.”

Faculty and staff will have access to certain offices and research labs, according to Wong. Classes will continue through the semester in alternative locations.

“The decision was made to allow students to maintain the routines that are already established, and not introduce a new relocation during the semester,” said University Spokesperson Ellen Griffin.

SF State is scheduled to allow faculty and staff into the three-story office wing of the Science Building in late April, and to most of the two-story lab, classroom and office wing by May 15, according to Wong.

However, four chemistry labs, the chemistry stockroom and basement will need much more work, according to Wong, and will remain closed for a minimum of one year.

“The core portions of this building are more than 50 years old, and fall far short of supporting 21st century instruction and research,” said Wong. “We have not yet arrived at a long-term solution that meets the needs of our students, faculty and staff, and will continue to seek that solution.”

The University built the Science Building in 1953, with additions to the structure in 1960 and 1989, according to a document released by SF State.

In January, SF State announced it had discovered hazardous materials and would close the building weeks before the start of the Spring 2014 semester. The closure displaced more than 9,000 students and faculty whose classes were relocated to other facilities on campus.

Recently, officials determined the materials found in the building posed minimal health risks.

As previously reported by Golden Gate Xpress, the University faces $203 million in necessary repairs and renovations to its campus buildings, which stems from a $1.8 billion backlog of maintenance upgrades for the entire California State University system.

“We cannot grow California’s workforce of the future with outmoded and inadequate facilities,” CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said in a statement. “Investment in facilities and technology that make learning and discovery possible is essential as we work together to improve the state of California.”


Additional reporting by Michael Barba