UPDATE: Parts of Science Building scheduled to re-open in two weeks


An aerial view of the Science building taken from Thorton HallTuesday, January 28. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress

SF State officials are scheduling staggered times for faculty and staff to enter the Science Building April 28, according to Ron Cortez, vice president and chief financial officer of administration and finance.

With one month left in the semester, some faculty will again have access to their labs while others will remain relocated in pop-up trailer laboratories, according to a press release. Students are expected to attend classes in their current campus venues.

“It’s more of a customized move-in process,” said Cortez. “We’re working with faculty and staff right now to start getting them back into the rooms.”

 Belfor, a remediation contractor, and Professional Service Industries, an environmental consultant, have engaged in the abatement of mercury, lead and asbestos over a four month period to make the facility usable. 

“We’re actually fixing it more than just cleaning it,” said Cortez of the 60-year-old Science Building,  which closed after inspectors discovered toxic hazards on the premises. “If there is a pipe that has asbestos, we pull it out.”

Maintenance staff worked with consultants to repair flaky lead-containing paint, replace asbestos affected pipes and floor finishes and wipe and vacuum dust with traces of asbestos in it, according to “SF State Science Building Remediation Summary,” a document obtained by Xpress.

 Consultants also removed mercury from two rooms that store artifacts and engineering equipment, according to the document, as well as from a utility trench where a thermometer had broken.

The air in the Science Building did not need to be cleaned, according to Cortez.

An aerial view of the Science building taken from Thorton HallTuesday, January 28. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress

“It’s important to remember that the Science Building’s design has not changed,” said Cortez in a press release Wednesday. Although a safety, utility and accessibility face-lift is planned for several chemistry labs, Cortez said that “the Science Building has not been modernized through this process.”

Spurred by contamination found in the Science Building last winter, university officials have completed environmental inspections of buildings similar in age, including the Gymnasium, Creative Arts Building, Mary Park Hall and Mary Ward Hall, according to Cortez.

“Our staff is still in the process of reviewing the results,” said Cortez, who estimated that further information on the evaluations will be available in two weeks.

By the end of June, university officials will have conducted environmental inspections of the Business, HSS, and Fine Arts buildings.