Weeks after the University of Montana announced it was closing McGill Hall after it had been found to be contaminated with dust containing “unacceptable levels of asbestos,” UM now says the building is scheduled to open again on Monday, March 11.
UM Vice President for Operations and Finance Paul Lasiter said contractors are finished with cleaning required testing for McGill Hall’s 2nd floor. Cleaning is now taking place on the first floor, which Lasiter said is taking “considerably longer” than the second floor due to a variety of factors, including the need to bring in lifts for high ceilings.
Employees are still being allowed into offices in cleaned areas to retrieve needed items.
Parents have recently expressed frustration at UM officials after their children were possibly exposed to asbestos at ASUM Child Care, which was located in the building. Lasiter said they are seeking a new, permanent location for the daycare, with consolidation of former McGill Hall facility and the Craighead facility being discussed as a likely option.
Lasiter said contractors expect to be done with work on the first floor and receive test results by Thursday, March 8. The first and second floors of McGill will be open for employees to move back in on Friday, March 9, and back online the following Monday, March 11, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
McGill’s basement still needs to be cleaned and the crews will continue working in the building to complete that work, which they predict will take another three to four weeks.
“This has been a difficult and uncertain time for those directly affected, and I apologize for that uncertainty and the stress that it has caused,” Lasiter said. “I appreciate the patience, care and helpful actions from members of our community as we work diligently on these challenges.”