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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

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PSFA Building to be Reoccupied; Testing and Improvements Continue

The following was sent via email on May 22.
By SDSU News Team
 

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

We are pleased to report that San Diego State University will begin to reoccupy the PSFA Building for those who have requested a return to the building. The building can be reoccupied as early as this week as extensive environmental and major building system testing led by external consultants is now complete and reports indicate that the building is occupant-ready. Further details on testing results are below.

SDSU will return faculty and staff to the building, as they choose, through an intentional decision-making process. The following message provides an update about testing and the ways PSFA Building returners and earlier occupants are being supported.

Building Tests

Environmental testing

San Diego State University has worked with two environmental consulting firms (e.g., Aurora Industrial Hygiene and Millennium Consulting) to provide extensive testing within and around the PSFA Building since the April open forums. The majority of testing focused on concerns raised by students, faculty and staff at these two public forums, including additional scanning for evidence of mold, airborne particulates, asbestos, and other issues as further detailed below.

We have learned from each of our consultants that testing results show only low-level, within-range, and/or below-testable-limit levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, airborne particulates, organic vapors, volatile organic compounds and asbestos-containing materials.

In a comprehensive scan for evidence of mold growth across each floor, only one storage room was identified as having elevated spore counts indicative of current or past mold. However, the storage room was previously remediated and follow-up sampling in this location did not indicate elevated levels of mold nor any evidence of current mold growth. Additionally, one office was found to have a low level of formaldehyde. This low level of formaldehyde, which is below Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, is not associated with any known health risk and is often a result of off-gassing from new furniture or carpet. Furthermore, follow-up sampling in this room and adjacent spaces occurred. Low levels of formaldehyde were detected in an adjacent office; however, the original office was cleared. Both individual spaces, the closet and the office, will continue to be tested and remediated, as necessary, prior to use.

In addition, we are in the process of determining the cause for the variation in temperatures reported in the building, and will also mitigate this issue as part of construction and repair work planned to begin later this summer. We further learned that, despite the temperature regulation concerns, humidity was consistently maintained throughout the building at a range that minimizes the growth of allergenic and pathogenic organisms.

While the testing has been completed and environmental consulting firms Millennium Consulting and Aurora Industrial Hygiene are preparing summaries of their findings, periodic testing will continue through the summer and next academic year to ensure that within-range levels are maintained. The full report and executive summaries will be released and posted to the urgent.sdsu.edu site in the coming days.

Building Reoccupation Plan

The return to the PSFA Building will occur based on a staggered schedule, and each of those who have requested to return to the building have begun receiving targeted communication about requirements before returning to the building. Most immediately, select members of the Department of Biology, the Pre-College Institute, SDSU School of Exercise & Nutritional Sciences, and other faculty and staff who have self-selected to move back will be relocated to the building.

As was pledged during the open forums, SDSU faculty, staff, and students who are uncomfortable or who have ongoing questions and concerns will have the option to remain in their current spaces until their concerns are addressed. Additionally, PSFA displaced faculty and staff whose space needs are not yet met may:
  • Wait for additional space in Adams Humanities to be freed up pending other faculty and staff moves.
  • Move into modular spaces, which will be installed and prepared for occupancy at the earliest possible date in July.
  • Move to other spaces for the summer (will not necessarily be with other PSFA colleagues); or relocate back into the PSFA Building. 
Therefore, based upon the requests of a number of faculty and staff, SDSU has implemented the following plan:

Those schools within the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts and staff from the College of Arts and Letters which have already been relocated to the Adams Humanities building can remain there for the duration of the PSFA environmental condition corrections through next academic year.

Temporary modular spaces will be introduced this summer and located to the west of the Music Building. These spaces will house the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts dean’s office, other PSFA staff and students, and some classrooms through next year.

Fall 2019 courses, with the exception of biology and ENS teaching labs, that would have been held in the PSFA Building are being relocated to other campus locations. When this portion of the plan is finalized, faculty and students will receive direct notification. 

Construction and Repairs

This summer, SDSU will continue its work with consultants and contractors to initiate repairs to the PSFA Building, and for building construction. The majority of projects are in direct response to concerns shared by students faculty and staff.

Among the projects, SDSU will be replacing windows and front doors, improving the HVAC and plumbing systems, repairing fire assembly penetrations and installing a new roof with modern technology and materials.

Contacts

Faculty who have questions about periodic evaluations, promotion and tenure reviews, and leaves that may be impacted are asked to contact associate deans, directors or chairs in their respective areas, or the Office of Faculty Advancement by emailing facultyadvancement@sdsu.edu.

More Information

As always, please frequent the PSFA Building Information Page on the SDSU Urgent site. Strategic Communications and Public Affairs (StratComm) updates the information page with new information at least once weekly.

If you have any outstanding questions, please email StratComm at stratcomm@sdsu.edu and your message will be shared with the appropriate contact.

Strategic Communications and Public Affairs