By Rob Bradfield
Flooding and hazardous materials have caused the closure of the Bill Daniel Student Center basement and the displacement of bowling classes that normally take place there.
While cleaning up the flood damage to the building’s basement level that occurred the night of March 20, workers discovered asbestos insulation beneath the bowling alley. The asbestos had been used as soundproofing for the lanes and had laid undisturbed since their construction.
The lanes will be closed until the asbestos can be removed, which Lori Fogleman, Baylor director of media relations, said may take several weeks.
“We will know more once we actually begin the process,” Fogleman said.
Exposure to asbestos is linked with several health issues. Long-term exposure can cause lung cancer and Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer affecting the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, according to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency.
Many old buildings contain asbestos insulation, but when left undisturbed, it can be perfectly safe, according to the EPA.
Fogleman said no students, faculty or staff were in danger before the flooding occurred. Asbestos becomes a danger when it is disturbed, like by the flood in the SUB basement.
Fogleman said Baylor is following the proper regulatory requirements for removing the damaged asbestos to ensure students and staff remain safe.
“During the abatement process, nobody will be exposed to [the asbestos],” Fogleman said.
The entire bowling alley area will be closed off until the area can be cleaned, which has interrupted the bowling classes.
Mary Ann Jennings, professor of health and human performance, said the bowling classes will be held off-site for at least a month.
The university has worked out a deal with AMF Lake Air Lanes on Bosque Boulevard to allow the nearly 120 students enrolled in bowling classes to bowl there for free during the week, Jennings said.
“It will be good to get them out to a larger bowling alley and out into the community,” Jennings said.
Students will be required to bowl at least three games a week, but they can bowl up to five free of charge.
Jennings said skills testing will be held at the end of the semester to make sure students are improving. Only students registered in bowling classes will have access to the free games and will have to sign in at the front desk to play for free.
There were some initial concerns about students not receiving enough help from their professors, Jennings said.
To help struggling students, some professors will schedule times to meet with their classes while Baylor’s lanes remain under construction.
“In the meantime, if they need any instruction, the manager at the Lake Air Bowling Lanes will be there,” Jennings said.