Students received and email in the early afternoon hours of Thursday, April 12, with the subject stating, “Wheelwright Auditorium has been closed until further notice.”
The cause of the sudden and unexpected closure is due to asbestos fibers being found around the stage area and in the fire curtain.
Asbestos is a heat-resistant mineral that can be sewed into fabrics and has been linked to mesothelioma and other serious health risks.
The fibers were found after a series of tests by Summit Engineering and Environmental Health and Safety here at Coastal Carolina University. While the test revealed that the asbestos fibers were present, the air quality levels were still below what is acceptable by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
However, after receiving the test results from the fire curtain on April 9, showing that there were fibers present, the university decided it was best to close the auditorium and replace the fire curtain before the asbestos risk increased.
The events that were scheduled in Wheelwright Auditorium for the remainder of the semester have since been cancelled or moved to a different area.
The Student Involvement and Leadership Awards (SILA) have been moved to Monday April 16, at 7 p.m. in the HTC Center. The nominee's reception for the 2018 SILA awards will also be held in the HTC Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. The reception was originally scheduled to be held at Atheneum Hall.
When asked when Wheelwright is scheduled to reopen, no time frame was given as the university does not want to rush this project and wants to be sure once reopened that Wheelwright possesses no risk to the safety of students and faculty.
Wheelwright Auditorium hosts several events throughout the summer, many related to orientations that are held for incoming students and their families.
We will keep updated as we get more information. You can follow updates on this story at www.thechanticleernews.com