With health concerns quieted, renovated Starbuck Center gradually re-opens: Offices given temporary homes across campus will move back to Starbuck starting this week

Posted by Sarah Rose Slate

After months of renovations, the Starbuck Center will reopen this week, allowing its offices to move back to their original locations in the building within the coming month.

"With a new insulated roof, completely new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, new connectivity of computer equipment, paint and carpet, we expect an improved environment for our students and staff," Michael West, vice president for Finance and Administration, said. "We also added two new offices to meet service demands."

Earlier this year, health concerns raised by employees in Starbuck prompted an evacuation of the building as well as an investigation into whether the center contained high levels of hazardous chemicals or mold.

Throughout this process, which ran from late January into February, 50 employees were evacuated, and offices were relocated to various places on campus including Palamountain Hall, Ladd Hall, and Case Center.

During the investigation, the building was tested for toxic chemicals including radon, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde.

The results of the first round of testing confirmed that the chemicals were within or below the recommended ranges. A second round of tests also found no concerns. However, the building remained closed for renovations throughout the rest of the school year, the various offices remaining in their temporary locations.

Tuesday will mark the reopening of the Career Development Center and Student Academic Services in their new Starbuck offices. The offices of the Registrar, Financial Aid, Academic Advising, First-Year Experience,  Off-Campus Studies, Institutional Research, Office Student Accounts and the Card Office will move back into Starbuck and open over the course of this semester.

The phasing of the offices back into the Starbuck Center, according to President Philip A. Glotzbach in an earlier interview, will be scheduled according to each office's needs. This will ensure that members of the offices do not have to worry about relocation in addition to other events and tasks, he said.

Plans are continuing for the future of the Starbuck Center. The administration is working to convert the new building to be geo-thermally heated and cooled within the next year to improve the work environment for employees and increase convenience for students utilizing the College's resources, turning Starbuck into a more permanently established campus administrative building.

"Almost all offices benefit from the renovations," West said. "Starbuck Center will continue to serve these functions in the long-term future."

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