Second round of testing in Starbuck Center completed: The College will conduct a third test before moving employees back into the building

Posted by Julia Leef

The College completed additional testing to the Starbuck Center, finding nothing of concern, and will begin the remediation and renovation of the building to improve the appearance and functionality of the building.

In an email sent out to the faculty and staff by Michael West, vice president for Finance and Administration, he reported the environmental hygienist the College hired for testing found normal background radiation far below OSHA action levels, no elevated readings of substances of concern and white efflorescence on brick walls, which was not microbial and believed to be non-harmful salts.

This testing is part of a larger investigation by the College this semester to determine the source of unconfirmed health concerns reported by several Starbuck employees. On Jan. 18, Barbara Beck, associate vice president for Finance and Administration and director of Human Resources, sent a message to the faculty and staff, informing them that concerns had been reported and that the College was taking measures to hire an industrial hygienist to begin the assessment process.

President Philip Glotzbach and Dean of Students Rochelle Calhoun released a similar statement to the student body on Jan. 25, encouraging students to direct any inquiries to Patricia Bosen, director of Health Services.

To protect the safety of the 50 employees, the administration decided to evacuate the building until the source of these concerns could be verified. However, the initial testing only revealed an unsubstantial amount of mold in one of the rooms.

The hygienist will conduct a third and final environmental testing phase before moving staff back into Starbuck. In addition, the College is carrying out a medical review, working with an epidemiological group and an outside medical specialist to define the possible scope of study.

"The health and safety of our employees are, as always, of paramount concern," West said. "We will continue to work closely with the employees of Starbuck Center and with our independent consultants."

West encourages those with questions or concerns to contact Beck or Chris Kaczmarek, director of business services, through Terry Mariani at extension 5804. 

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