An Update on Poe Hall
NC State community:
Last week, Chancellor Woodson shared an update with the university community that Poe Hall is temporarily closed. After preliminary environmental testing, we discovered the presence of environmental contaminants called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). This prompted the closure of the building out of extreme caution to ensure the safety of our faculty, staff and students occupying the space.
We recognize that because of this abrupt closure, there are many questions about how we arrived at this point and what it means for those who are directly impacted. In an effort to keep you informed, here are a few points you should know about the testing process and what we know so far:
- In response to a concern raised in August about indoor air quality resulting from an ongoing renovation project, the university initiated an internal environmental assessment, which included preliminary testing for asbestos and heavy metals. All results were within acceptable limits. The internal assessment also included consultation with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). We’ve continued to consult with NIOSH throughout this process.
- In October and November, samples were collected from the surfaces of selected areas of the building. These samples were analyzed for asbestos, heavy metals including lead and mercury, and PCBs.
- There are more than 200 different commercial mixtures of PCB compounds called “Aroclors.” Our preliminary surface tests primarily detected levels of Aroclor 1262 that warrant further investigation.
- Given that additional testing is needed, and in an effort to help our Poe Hall community plan for the months ahead, the building will not be open for the start of the spring semester. The university is working diligently to relocate the building’s classes, research spaces, offices and services.
These preliminary tests are limited, which is why the university is in the process of engaging an outside consultant to conduct more comprehensive environmental testing to help us better understand the environment in the building. Until we have this information, we cannot provide definitive guidance about what — if any — remediation or cleaning is needed or whether the findings are cause for concern from a health perspective. Please know that as soon as we have additional context and guidance, we will share it.
The closure of a large academic building just a few weeks before the end of the semester is no small feat. We also recognize that not having a full picture of the situation may add to the uncertainty and anxiety some are feeling. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to better determine the impacts of our initial findings.
Please continue to seek help and resources if you need them. If you have specific concerns about Poe Hall or if you need access to the building going forward, please call 919-513-3358 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll continue to communicate our progress as we move ahead.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Executive Vice Chancellor