By Carlos Ferrand and Neven Jones
The roof replacement in Chance Academic Center is creating excessive dust and causing ceiling tiles to fall down.
The roof is being torn off in sections to get all the material off the roof and into a dumpster each morning before classes begin, said David Mrizek, vice president of college services.
Faculty and staff have complained about the project when they find “a hunk of ceiling on their desk,” Mrizek said.
Construction company WTI, Weatherproof Technologies Inc. has the option of working at 10 p.m. or 1 a.m. and finishing in time to clean up before 8 a.m. classes start, project manager Louis Kreusel said.
The old, original roof needs to be replaced, Kreusel said.
Chance was built with the capital improvements projects completed in 1993. Classes were first offered in spring 1992. The most recent construction started at the beginning of the holiday break and will end in March, Mrizek said.
The construction company checks the classrooms and hallways for dust daily, said John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities.
Despite dust and ceiling being removed from classrooms, faculty and staff said dust is left lingering in the air.
Biology Adjunct Mercedes Alba is asthmatic and must wear a mask.
“The dust is dangerous for people with severe asthma,” she said. Alba said her asthma has worsened as result.
“This is a Priority 1 roof replacement project; otherwise, the roof will be leaking and all the classes would be canceled,” Strybos said.
Fireproofing was sprayed on the underside of the metal structure the roof sits on as standard procedure. In the process of the construction crew putting down the new roof, some of it is falling off in chunks and coming through the ceiling tiles, Mrizek said.
On Feb. 18, the weight of fallen fireproofing caused a ceiling tile to fall overnight in Room 353 of Chance. A blanket of dust hung in the hallway outside the classroom, causing professors and students to wear masks covering.
The fireproofing was tested by this college last month and does not contain asbestos. It is original to the building, Kreusel said.
Nursing sophomore Liz Jennings wears a mask while doing her homework in the BioSpot in Room 350.
“I have to study for a test, and I can’t breathe or see,” Jennings said.
Jennings said dealing with the dust is an everyday thing.
“We study, eat and work here,” she said.
Lab tech Susan Garza said 20 years of dust is falling from the sky, and faculty and students are being forced to breathe it.