Suntrust Tower to be Tested for Asbestos

The university may soon have to remove asbestos from the walls of the Suntrust Tower.

The dormant asbestos contained in the walls poses little risk to students or faculty at present, although any construction work that would open the walls might expose occupants to the carcinogen if not properly removed, said Jeff Winslett, the project leader of the contracting company that formerly managed the building’s construction work.

He said that, during the building’s remodeling from 1981 to 1991, asbestos was removed from the space between the building’s floors, although the walls were left alone.

He estimates the cost of abating the contaminated walls to around four times that of ordinary renovation work because of the extra layer of precaution and effort involved.

As the project is still in its design phase, the university has not begun testing for asbestos, which will be done before any construction begins, according to Kim Bauer, the director of Facilities and Design and Construction Services.

She said the majority of renovations will occur with the mechanical systems in the building with very few walls being removed or added.

However, if asbestos is detected, the university will have it professionally removed, which Bauer said will not significantly impact the timeframe or cost of construction.

“Our standard policy is to test for asbestos prior to renovations and if asbestos is found, it is professionally and safely removed and then the air is tested to confirm that it is clean prior to any occupants occupying the area,” she said.

The Physics and Astronomy departments will be moving into floors six and twelve next September along with University Relations.

The Communications department is scheduled to move into floors eight through eleven in December.

 

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