Mold has forced students and their experiments to move out of one floor of the University of Minnesota’s Civil Engineering building.
The building’s sixth floor, which houses some of the civil engineering department laboratories, has “water intrusion” problems, said Roberto Ballarini, the department’s head. The building runs seven floors underground, and its depth created water leaking problems. It caused mold to form and interfere with sensitive environmental experiments.
Students and laboratory equipment are moving to the St. Paul campus and will stay there indefinitely until the problem is solved, Ballarini said.
Most of the equipment is moving to Gortner Laboratory in St. Paul, and the rest is moving to neighboring Shepherd Labs in Minneapolis.
The relocation affects about 20 students and staff involved in environmental engineering experiments, said Raymond Hozalski, a professor at the department who is in charge of the migration.
Packing started last week and movers begin hauling equipment Monday morning, he said.
The department uses the space to conduct experiments involving wastewater, storm water treatment, microbiology and pollution prevention. Much of the equipment is electronic.
Air quality tests showed that the mold did not pose a health hazard. Much of it has been cleaned up, but the source of the problem — the water leak — remains.
Meanwhile, the move is welcomed by students and staff who are looking forward to working above ground, said Andrew Rescorla, a civil engineering student and research assistant.
The Civil Engineering building opened in 1983 as an experiment in resource independence following the energy crisis. It runs 110 feet underground and won a prestigious award from the American Society of Civil Engineers after opening.
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