BY SOFIA LYNCH
AND IVAN FLORES
As of the winter break of the 2014-15 school year, the mold and asbestos discovered in the Crane Liberal Arts and Science building (CLASB) were announced officially remediated. The mold and asbestos affected the entire first floor perimeter, which in turn displaced a few classrooms, faculty offices, deans’ offices, the part-time faculty commons, and learning support services. Since the remediation of the mold issue, Washtenaw Community College’s facilities management has been working to put the perimeter wall back together and to return the displaced teachers and offices to their proper locations.
In a previous Voice interview with Damon Flowers, the vice president of facilities, grounds and campus safety, he stated that the move and relocation were a bigger deal than the mold remediation itself. Flowers also projected that all relocated rooms would be moved back to their original locations by the end of May 2015.
Charles Johnson, an instructor in humanities and behavioral science, believes that was an overly-optimistic prediction.
“Construction projects always run behind,” Johnson said. “I don’t think anyone expected the work to be complete in May but I thought they would be done by August. Then they said the first day of school. The latest rumor running around is January.”
In order to finish rebuilding the CLASB perimeter wall, custom-made pre-cast concrete sills had to be fabricated, which became a setback on the renovation schedule, according to Flowers. Due to this part of the process needing funding that exceeded $100,000, a construction contract had to be approved by the board of trustees in June so that the funds for these pre-casts could be allocated. After the financial resources were awarded in early July, it was going to be eight weeks approximately for the fabrication of the pre-casts.
“So that was what in this business we would call a critical path: meaning you can’t do anything else until you get that piece done – can’t do windows, can’t do fringe, can’t do anything. So that timeline sort of delayed things,” Flowers said of the pre-cast sills.
Flowers says that they are now shooting to finish the renovations completely by the end of October.
Despite the setbacks, the college has accommodated the affected faculty appropriately. Almost a year after the initial relocations, Johnson expressed satisfaction with the temporary office space, saying there haven’t been many, if any, adverse effects on the staff.
Heidi Dodson, an adjunct chemistry instructor, is among the faculty using the space in the Student Center, where the part-time faculty offices were relocated.
“This is a good place. It’s not in the building where I work, but students come to the Student Center all the time. Faculty does as well, so it’s not really an inconvenience,” Dodson said.