Green Center renovation: More than asbestos removal

Recently I  had a sit down with the Director of Mines Office Design and Construction, Mike Bowker, for an update about the Green Center. As it turns out, the Green Center has a lot more than asbestos removal going on.

To clarify some misconceptions, Bowker explained that this project wasn’t about the removal of asbestos, but instead about re-roofing and updating the Green Center along with installing chiller pipes and updating the second floor, Metals Hall, and Bunker Auditorium.

Before the abatement began, Green Center had multiple contaminated ceilings. “Every time you had to touch the ceiling, you couldn’t,” explained Bowker.

The Green Center was finished in 1971, just two years before the Clean Air Act effectively banned most uses of the hazardous material. According to Bowker, the Green Center is by far the worst building on campus with regards to asbestos before the abatement began.

“None of the buildings on campus were as substantial a challenge as Green Center,” stated Bowker.

Although there still will be popcorn ceilings and some smaller amounts of asbestos in Green Center and other older buildings like Chauvenet, it does not pose any amount of danger to the Mines community.

While the asbestos abatement and re-roofing projects a large part of the Green Center project, there are some improvements going on. I’m sure you’ve noticed that great big hole in front of Hill Hall, or the other ones by Kafadar and Coolbaugh. Mines is currently working on installing chiller pipes to provide chilled water for air conditioning, experiments, and other uses for various buildings on campus. Imagine something similar to the steam tunnels, but with cold water instead of hot steam. Bowker explained that by centralizing the chillers, their efficiency goes up, and maintenance costs go down when compared to individual building AC and cooling systems. The Green Center will be home to one of these central cooling centers.

The other improvements to Green are coming to the inside. Expect the second floor to renovated completely, along with improvements to Metals Hall and Bunker. Along with that, new general purpose space will allow for more opportunities inside Green Center.

While progress has been slowed due to weather, expect the holes around Kafadar, Hill, and Coolbaugh to be filled in the next few weeks. The full project will come to a close around late spring in 2019, so don’t expect tests, classes, or meetings in Green Center anytime soon.

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