MSU Closes Building After Asbestos Found Under Tile - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

MSU Closes Building After Asbestos Found Under Tile

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BOZEMAN -

Montana State University officials closed Sherrick Hall around 11 Tuesday morning after they found asbestos in floor tile they were removing.

It was all an effort to keep students and staff safe.

"We closed the hall out of caution and are doing some testing to see if the asbestos became airborne," said Tracy Ellig, MSU spokesman.

He said the asbestos was originally discovered Monday when crews were removing floor tiles to install carpet in Sherrick Hall, which is home to the College Of Nursing.

Ellig said they closed off the section of the building where the asbestos was discovered at 7:30 a.m., but later decided to close the rest of the building.

"The reason for that was we were concerned we might have a fire exit issue if part of the building was blocked off and another part was open," said Ellig.

The university took air and surface samples and sent them to a lab on the east coast for testing.

Ellig said there is a good chance those tests will come back negative.

"These floor tiles were very durable and it's very difficult to get them to crumble and that is what you have to do to get asbestos airborne, a material has to crumble into a fine powder," said Ellig.

Sherrick Hall was built in 1973.

Ellig said there are many buildings on campus that have asbestos, but those aren't a concern at the moment.

"Asbestos isn't a problem until you start moving it," said Ellig. "This only became a concern for us when we started tearing up those tiles, but if we would've left those tiles in place, that wouldn't have been a concern."

College of Nursing officials said there was little classroom disruption because there are no classes Wednesday because of Thanksgiving Break.

Ellig said the building will reopen once they get results, which could be as early as Wednesday afternoon.

He said if the building is still closed when students return to class on Monday, classes will be held in other nearby buildings.

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