Asbestos test delays MC renovations

It has been more than a decade since major renovations have been made to the Phyllis P. Marshall Center, and Monday added to that delay as officials tested the building for asbestos.

Construction for a new dining service was underway on the first floor in the student union when Joe Synovec, assistant director for the Marshall Center, said he was informed that the project had to be temporarily halted.

Synovec said USF’s environmental health and safety department informed him that a test for asbestos needed to be completed before any construction begins. The construction closed Java City, which will be replaced by Einstein Bros. Bagels.

But why the testing wasn’t completed earlier remains unclear with the Marshall Center administration, Synovec said.

Any time before interior construction begins to a building, Synovec said, it is required by health department regulations that testing for asbestos be conducted.

Synovec said Performance Support International, a health risk management company, was called at the last minute to search the building because it was not contacted earlier.

Synovec said he was unsure about who was supposed to arrange for the testing, but the responsibility fell somewhere between the physical plant and the construction company that is renovating the student union.

“No one asked them to do it,” Synovec said.

But representatives from the physical plant said they are only responsible for the maintenance of buildings within the Education and General Budget.

A representative from PSI did not return repeated phone calls requesting information about the asbestos testing.

The testing will cost about $400, Synovec said, and results are expected today.

However, Synovec said, asbestos should not be discovered since none was found during the last testing before the Marshall Center was renovated for the first time.

“This whole building was gutted in 1991. Everything was removed from the building that should have asbestos in it,” Synovec said. “I don’t know how we would have asbestos now if we didn’t have it then.”