Prentice Cafe closes for cleaning of asbestos

Megan Ayscue

Workers posted signs on several Prentice Cafe entrances Monday warning the public not to enter unless authorized due to the presence of asbestos. 

Precision ProCut, a concrete sawing and drilling services company, are currently clearing away the asbestos-containing materials from the area.

“Asbestos was a very common additive to building materials, and you can commonly find that in just about every single building that was built before 1980,” said Dennis Baden, the director of Environmental Health and Safety. “Prentice Hall falls in that category.”

Kent State conducted an asbestos survey of all university buildings in 2011. At the time, Prentice Hall was found to have asbestos-containing materials, but the materials posed no risk to the general public, Baden said.

“In this case, the flooring material, the glue … contains a small amount of asbestos — I think it’s 3 percent,” Baden said.

Although the university could have worked overtop of the asbestos-containing glue, they decided to remove it while renovating Prentice Hall. None of the asbestos-containing materials in Kent State buildings have to be removed, but it usually is done, “primarily because of public concern,” Baden said.

Baden also said there is a “very, very low risk” of releasing the asbestos fibers from the glue.

“In glues especially, the asbestos is bound very tightly in the matrix of the glue, so there’s no release of any asbestos fibers,” he said.

Asbestos-containing material contains concentrations greater than one percent asbestos by weight, according to the Kent State Asbestos Management Program.

This program “provides for the safe and proper control of … asbestos containing materials in university buildings,” according to Kent State’s website.

The program also requires university maintenance-related positions to participate in asbestos awareness training.

While most forms of asbestos-containing material aren’t illegal today, Baden said the university doesn’t use it when building.

“We have a general practice that  — when we run across asbestos materials during a renovation — that we remove those materials,” Baden said. “Even though it’s materials less than one percent, we treat those usually as asbestos-containing as well.”

Fork in the Road, the main-campus food truck, will be outside Prentice Hall from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day this week in lieu of Prentice Cafe being closed. Students can use cash, credit or meal plan.

Prentice Cafe will be open to students Mon., April 3 at 8 a.m.

Megan Ayscue is the administration reporter, contact her at [email protected].