PCC has hired a construction company to renovate the R-Building’s men’s restrooms and remove asbestos from the building.

Executive Director of Facilities and Construction Services Rueben Smith said that while the building does contain asbestos, when encapsulated or undisturbed it is not hazardous to those in the building.

“Asbestos is a scary word but if handled properly some people don’t even know there’s asbestos in the building,” said Smith.

All the asbestos in the R-Building won’t be removed because it would be too costly, Smith said.

“It would take 100 percent renovation to say it’s asbestos free,” said Smith.

Exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of cancer, other nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute. It was used for strengthening cements and plastics as well as insulation.

Smith also said the problem is locating the asbestos, which was embedded in the building when it was built in the 70s.

“It’s an old building so we don’t know where the asbestos is unless we’re renovating it,” said Smith.

Jack Schulman, Director of Measure P, said the first step in the abatement process involves determining if the space is hazardous and then removing all furniture and equipment from the area.

A fully licensed abatement contractor, in this case 1st California Construction Inc., then comes and sets up a containment area with samples being continuously monitored during abatement and afterward to make sure the area was abated correctly. Then all abated material is removed from the site and disposed of properly.

The R-Building is not the only building on campus that contains asbestos. An Asbestos Inspection Report conducted by CF Environmental, Inc. in 2001 lists the C, CC, D, E, HH, U, V, W as buildings that also contain it.

The cost of renovation is estimated at $520,000 and is part of the second phase of the R-Building restroom renovation, the first being remodeling the women’s bathroom.

Schulman said the renovation should start some time between the end of September and the start of October.

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