Update on library closure: $1.2 million for asbestos removal over summer

Joel Boland

The Sacramento State Library’s main building will be closing for the summer on Friday so that a $1.2 million project to remove and contain asbestos can take place.

Library Dean Amy Kautzman said she has a lot of plans for improving the library, but the presence of asbestos was preventing even minor updates, like installing wiring for new outlets.

For the roughly 3,500 students taking summer classes at Sac State, Kautzman said that library staff are currently reaching out to faculty to find out what materials summer students will need so those books can be moved out of the main library and made accessible.

“This is all very short notice,” Kautzman said. “We’re hoping to gain access to the stacks so we can possibly pull items here or there.”

Daryn Ockey, director of facilities operations with Facilities Management, said that might be a possibility, but that they will consult Environmental Health & Safety to make sure it’s safe before allowing library staff in the building to retrieve books.

The estimated cost of the project is broken down into $500,000 for asbestos removal and containment, $500,000 for new ceiling tiles, with the remainder being logistical costs for such a large undertaking, according to Bena Arao, director of administrative services for Facilities Management. The project is being done by Professional Asbestos and Lead Services, Inc., or PALS.

Ockey said that not all of the asbestos is being removed, some of it is being stabilized and left behind.

“The fire proofing that is on the steel beams of the two bottom floors in Library I will be encapsulated,” Ockey wrote in an email. “That fire proofing is a critical safety feature of that building, and removing and replacing the material is cost prohibitive.”

Susan Espinoza, a senior sociology major, said she will be taking a summer course, Statistics 101, but that she doesn’t think the closing of the main library will negatively affect her studies.

“I find that I usually use online resources anyway. For papers and stuff, I’ll find my sources through the database online,” Espinoza said. “So the actual building itself — I don’t think it’ll really affect me, being closed. But I’m sure it’ll affect other students.”

Katlin Cunningham, senior art history major, said she has taken summer classes before at community college, but never at Sac State.

“Cost is definitely the main reason I don’t take summer classes here… [I’m] already working two jobs, and trying to pay for the regular semester, I just can’t do it without [financial aid].”

Cunningham said she wondered how much of the $1.2 million for the renovations being done in the library was coming out of student tuition.

According to Stacy Hayano, associate vice president of Administration & Business Affairs, the funding for the $1.2 million estimated cost of the library project is broken down as follows:

  • $500,000 — One-time project funds from the university’s central reserves
  • $100,000 — Funding from Administration & Business Affairs
  • $192,300 — The All University Expense (Major Utilities which includes waste disposal)
  • $407,700 — Chancellor’s Office allocation

President Robert Nelsen had already approved a 2015-16 budget including $500,000 allotted for “hazardous waste abatement.”

Kautzman said that generally the library is open to all students and community borrowers over the summer, not just people enrolled in summer classes. Staff in Special Collections, located at the south end of the breezeway outside the library, will be there to help any students who want to come to campus over summer.

“Our students are on such an intellectual journey, and there are people who might want to read books during the summer time, who might want to pre-study,” Kautzman said. “All students will be allowed to come in [to Special Collections]. We will continue to serve as many people as we can.”

The library will reopen on Monday, Aug. 8. For more information on what services will be available over the summer, students can read the library’s FAQ here.