Students in the McDonalds Career Center got an early two-day fall break the second week of classes when it was determined an “unknown environmental circumstance” was detected in the building and everyone was evacuated.
The unknown environmental circumstance was later identified as a wall with asbestos in it was compromised, causing the evacuation.
The MCC is host to a variety of programs and classes for students seeking a career in trade or certification courses. Whether it’s welding, automotive technology, cosmetology or something else entirely, the operation of the building is vital to students on the USU Eastern campus.
Those students were shocked on Sept. 5, when the building was unexpectedly closed. Associate Vice President Greg Dart wants to make sure the students who take classes in the MCC are in the loop with regards to its closure.
Dart is one of the first people on campus to receive important information such as this. His job is to make informed decisions and let the faculty, staff and students know how to proceed safely, the MCC closure is no different.
“The Career Center closure occurred on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 5. It was that morning I received notification from the Environmental Health and Safety Office that an asbestos wall on the main floor of the building had been compromised the day before and that we needed to evacuate the building until cleaning and testing could occur,” Dart said in an email.
Making the call to evacuate the building can’t be an easy one. The MCC is one of the largest buildings on campus and student access is vital, but an order was given and the call was made. “Myself and Logan Bullough entered the building and began notifying everyone of the evacuation as soon as we knew [about the asbestos in the wall being compromised].”
Once the building was evacuated, work began to get the building back up and running to state specifications. “Eagle Environmental [from North Salt Lake] was hired, they did a thorough cleaning of the building and testing was done to ensure it could be reopened as soon as possible, It was reopened Monday, Sept. 9,” Dart said.
The closure was for the safety of the USU Eastern students, but there was a campus-wide concern about whether students would face any time constraints or restrictions due to the missing class periods and potential lab hours.
Dart assures that everything possible was done to ensure the closure had a minimal affect on students.
“All of our faculty have worked with their students to ensure that they do not have negative ramifications from the closure. Classes that could be moved were moved and those that could not have been able to work with their faculty members to ensure there is no negative impact for our students,” he said.
Events like this are unfortunate but often they are out of anyone’s control. Luckily, this occurrence is rare and shouldn’t be expected again. “This was a one-time closure dealing with an isolated incident, there should not be any more closures in the future dealing with this issue.”
Students and the rest of the USU Eastern community have since been able to return to their regular schedules and routines in the MCC without further incident.