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Arts center expansion halted over possible asbestos contamination

When we think of our local fine arts center, we imagine a beautiful painting or moving concert that we might have seen while visiting. Dealing with an asbestos contamination is probably not the first connection we make with a fine arts center. However, construction crews have found asbestos while expanding an Idaho arts building.

Students and faculty at the College of Southern Idaho have been forced to deal with the halted construction on the now closed arts center on campus. While undergoing renovation, workers found asbestos underneath old flooring. This prompted school officials to delay the opening of the updated and expanded building.

As a result of these findings, the campus community will have to adjust to some changes. Classes have been moved and planned concerts have been put into a state of limbo due to the cancer-causing agent found within the building. A part of the campus that frequently hosts events is now quiet.

The biggest concern is the many people that may have been affected as a result of possible exposure to asbestos in the building throughout the years. Staff, faculty, students, patrons and construction workers could have come into contact with asbestos. In other words, thousands have potentially become exposed to this life-threatening substance, should asbestos concerns become more prevalent as it relates to this building.

Parents send their kids to college with the idea that the students are being nourished by their education. School administrators are charged with keeping their students healthy. New Jersey parents, or parents anywhere, should not have to worry about their kid's life being put into danger while they are away at school.

Source: The Twins Falls Times-News, "Asbestos Concerns Delay CSI Fine Arts Center Expansion," Julie Wootton, Jan. 18, 2012

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