Tuesday, June 4, 1974
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Tuesday, June 4, 1974 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Nine
Grad library f
By PAT HINSBERG 'John Gantt, photo duplicationa
Students and staff can breathe supervisor, admits that workingI
a sigh of relief - the worst of conditions were unsatisfactoryt
the demolition involved in reno- at the onset of the demolition.1
vating the graduate library is While the noise and dust were
over, according to University difficult to tolerate, he says the
officials. worst effect was the unpleasant
The renovation program, be. odor permeating his office dur-
gun May 1, is aimed at improv- ing the welding process.
ing many aspects of the library THE CLOUDS of dust and thel
environment, including ventila- welding vapors, which another
tion, heating and lighting. All of photoduplication employe de-r
these improvements, however, scribed as "obnoxious," led to
entail massive overhaul. As claims that "asbestos dust" and.
work on the project began, "poisonous acetylene fumes"I
many employes expressed were endangering the health of
fears that the work conditions students and library staff.
in the library had become haz- But according to Denns, "The
ardous to their health. initial complaints about the cold
THE COMPLAINT the library alerted our office to the situa-
staff and students voiced most tion at the library.
frequently concerned the lack "Since then, our ffice has
of heating in the building. been conducting a daily inspec-
Although an April cold spell tion as part of an ongoing study
forced postponement of the pro- of the library's working condi-
ject's initial starting date, Ap- tions during the revonation.
ril 1, the contractors calculated "WE HAVE SEEN no evi-
t h a t another postponement dence of acetylene leakage,"
would preclude installation of Dennis claims. "What some
the heating system before the people mistook for fumes from
even colder fall weather. faulty acteylene - powered weld-
According to Robert Dennis, ing torches were relatively
senior safety coordinator of the harmless paint fumes, vapor.
U n i v e r s i t y ' s Environ- ized while cutting the painted
mental Health and Safety Agen- metal window frames."
cy, many members of the li- Dennis says that the dust in
brary staff were temporarily the library was primarily gyp-
relocated in the Undergradtate sim, and that the environmental
Library. agency has found no traces of
APPROXIMATELY asbestos in the air. He admits
59 staff members whose work the large quantity of dust is in
was essential to the operation itself a problem, but claims the
of the graduate library stayed, library has taken steps to rec-
but many moved to sectors of tify it.
the library remote from the "We certainly would not per-
scene of demolition, he says. mit conditions like these to exist
One group of employes who over a long period of time,"
could not move were several Dennis explains, "but 75 per
members of the Photoduplica- cent of the demolition is com-
tion Department. Because the pleted now, although we will
library copying equipment is continue our surveillance."
permanently installed, some ROLLAND STEWART, asso-
of the employes had to stay in ciate administrative director
their office-directly next o a for the library, acknowledges
wall that was being torn down. that the administration is aware
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ights health hazards
of the poor working conditions
but says officials have done all
they can to alleviate the em-
"We have told all employes,"
Stewart says, "that if anyone
finds the conditions at any time
personally intolerable, he is
free to leave with no loss of
Stewart emphasizes that the
unsatisfactory conditions were
a provisional measure to pre-
vent closing the library. Al-
though the constant shuffling
and reshuffling of employes that
accompanies renovation of an
occupied building is more costly
and inconvenient for the con-
tractors, one of the terms of
the builder's contract was that
the library remain open.
"THE GRADUATE library
LEARN ROCK, BLUES,
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has not been closed for reasons
of construction since it was
built in 1883," Stewart says.
"Even in 1920, when all except
the central stacks were rebuilt,
the library stayed open."
Dennis foresees no permanent
damage to employes' health as
a result of the construction and
demolition. At this stage in the
operation especially, he says,
curiosity is probably the biggest
hazard to the well-being of those
using library facilities.
"We have a tremendous prob-
lem right now," he says, "with
student and faculty sight-seers.
They go 't'tigh the gate in the
fence on the -east side of the
library tt Watch the construc-
tio.I But wte sootn hope to put
a stop to this as well."
DENNIS ADVISES those whoi
are using the tibrary that the
greatest ulanger i any build-
in under construction is the
possibility of fire.
"We have been careful not to
block any of the fire exits, and
the fire marshal is maintaining
surveillance," he says.
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In the irst grade, when youwere taught
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