RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — N.C. State University faculty are temporarily closing one of the campus’s large buildings.
Initial results from recent environmental testing at Poe Hall indicated the presence of an environmental contaminant called PCB. University staff sent an email on Thursday to inform students and staff who use the building that additional steps would be taken out of an abundance of caution.
Multiple signs were posted on doors Friday morning that only limited access would be granted to the building beginning Friday at 5 p.m. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems have also been turned off. After Nov. 22, any future access will need to be arranged by phone or email.
The seven-story building that was built back in 1971 is a fundamental spot for students majoring in education and psychology. Many students have already been notified of classes that have been shifted to other buildings or online for the remainder of the semester.
Will King, who is a senior and finance major, said, “I know a lot of students in here, their whole major is in this building. It will definitely be a big change for them.” King added, “I’m obviously concerned just because they said it’s in the ventilation, but the wording of the email said it was an abundance of caution, so I’m not too worried.”
Matthew Angel, also a senior and history major, said the transition will impact some more than others.
He said, “Just for me, the nature of my class being a drafting class, not having access to the computers with the software it had on it… It will be interesting to see how we go forward from here.”
Both King and Angel said there is some relief that the university is taking extra precautions to ensure the building is safe; however, some faculty said there are larger concerns for those who have worked inside the building for several years.
One professor, who asked not to be named, shared an email to CBS 17 News and said, “There is no question that those who use the building have been, and are, at risk.”
The same professor said there’s been a push by some staff to investigate particles in offices, mold in vents and odd smells inside of the building. In addition, employees said there have also been multiple cases of cancer and other illnesses they believe have been caused by contaminants inside the building.
N.C. State staff said that they plan to do additional studies and comprehensive testing at Poe Hall.
In a statement, campus staff said, “The preliminary testing results provide a starting point, and the university is committed to taking any steps necessary to fully understand the environmental conditions in Poe.”