News

Asbestos Floor Tiles Removed in Kiely Hall
By Steven Appel

In a move aimed at enhancing the campus grounds as part of a grander vision laid out by President Muyskens, Queens College recently had a number of old, vinyl asbestos floor tiles removed from Kiely Hall.

The tile replacement project, which took place on select weekends over the winter break, was spearheaded by the Campus Facilities and Services Office and performed on areas of the first floor of Kiely Hall, as well as the elevator lobbies on the tenth and eleventh floors.

Although Queens College held a very successful Winter Session this year, which brought many

Knight News Photo / Sarah Cooley
Kiely Hall’s first floor was stripped bare due to asbestos found in aging tiles.

students to campus during the extended break, the work was done on weekends to limit the
exposure to as few individuals as possible.

Brand new vinyl composition tiles were put in by New York Environmental Systems (NYES), which also removed the old asbestos tiles. The project was carried out under the close supervision of an independent monitoring laboratory, Testwell Labs, Inc. of Ossining , NY .

“All rules and regulations were followed and everything was monitored,” said Wayne Markowitz, the liaison of the Dorm Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) assigned to Queens College .

DASNY provides financing and construction services to public universities in New York State and played a role in the asbestos tile removal operation.

Testwell Labs, Inc. was hired in compliance with Federal, State and Local regulations on the safe removal of asbestos containing materials. The lab utilized air sampling pumps to monitor the quality of the air and ensure that the air was safe for students to breathe.

Mr. Markowitz pointed out that “Although asbestos floor tiles have very little possibility of harming anyone, everything was still sealed off beforehand, and the proper precautions were taken.”

Students were notified in advance of the asbestos tile removal. “Notices were put up informing students when we were going to be removing the tiles,” said Dave Gosine, Director of Facilities, Design, Construction and Management at the Campus Facilities and Services Office at Queens College .

Traditionally, asbestos has been used in the manufacturing of resilient floor covering products for more than 50 years. The asbestos fibers are meant to provide increased durability to the floor tiles.

However, according to information published on the website of the Environmental Protection Agency, if the proper precautions are not taken during the removal process, high levels of asbestos can enter the air and remain there for months at a time, exposing those who breathe the air to potentially deadly diseases later in life.

Eric Urevich, Director of the Child Development Center at Queens College located in Kiely Hall, was very pleased with the manner in which the work was conducted. “I have not had any concerns with the process or with the exposure of staff and children,” he said, “Things were done as needed to be done.”

Mr. Gosine, who headed the project as part of the Campus Facilities and Services Office, noted that there were no future asbestos removal plans in the works and that Queens College has no pending asbestos violations. The tiles were simply removed for the purpose of aesthetic improvement and the work was not connected to any asbestos code violations.