An asbestos-filled building that was functioning as overflow housing at the University of Colorado in Boulder will be coming down shortly, announced university officials earlier this week.
According to an article in the Boulder Daily Camera, the building – known as the College Inn – was far from the main campus but was the go-to location for freshman who needed housing but couldn’t find it on campus during the the college’s times of highest enrollment . Though the 77,000-square-foot structure is now vacant, it was – at one time – filled to the brim with students who were unaware that they were living in a building laden with dangerous asbestos materials.
When the college’s Environmental Health and Safety Commission evaluated the College Inn in 2008, it was determined that there were large amounts of asbestos present and that students had been living in rooms where they were potentially exposed to the material. The commission determined that to allow students to continue to live there, they would have had to draft lease agreements that would require a stipulation that the renters not touch the “popcorn” ceilings in each room. The ceilings are fashioned from acoustical plaster that was traditionally contained asbestos.
No discussion about the safety of past students who stayed in the College Inn has arisen, though anyone who was housed there and disturbed asbestos materials could be candidates for developing diseases like mesothelioma later in life.
The College Inn was built in 1964 during a time in which asbestos use was commonplace. It was acquired by the university’s Housing and Dining Services in 1976 and was originally used as a conference center. When the school saw a huge rise in enrollment in the early years of the new millennium, they converted it to a hotel-style building with single rooms that could be used to house students.
However, last year, the university acquired space for another 1,000 students and no longer need to use the asbestos-filled structure. In addition, it would cost about $750,000 for asbestos abatement, making demolition a more viable option, say school officials.