Presence of Asbestos Prompts UM to Close McGill Hall

January 31, 2019

MISSOULA – The latest asbestos tests in McGill Hall at the University of Montana have prompted campus administrators to close the building until further notice.

Classes, labs and other activities will be rescheduled, and information will be posted on all exterior doors of the building.

UM is expanding testing to analyze the entirety of McGill Hall. This will take several days to complete.

“In an abundance of caution and because the safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority, we made the decision to close the facility,” said Paul Lasiter, UM vice president for operations and finance.

In an email to campus, affected employees were advised to work with their immediate supervisors to make alternate work arrangements.

“We want them to be advised that the building closure likely will continue for at least the next two weeks,” Lasiter said. “We appreciate everyone’s cooperation as we make arrangements to ensure the safety of our community.”

UM will host an informational meeting about McGill Hall at noon Friday, Feb. 1, in the third-floor University Center Theater.

McGill Hall was constructed in 1953. Originally called the Women’s Center, it was renamed McGill Hall in 1984 to honor Dr. Caroline McGill, who in 1916 became the third female physician in Montana.

The building was remodeled in 2004, and an addition was added in 2009. The building contains the Associated Students of UM Child Care Preschool, which was moved from the building Jan. 28 after tests detected the presence of asbestos. McGill also contains departments such as Media Arts and Health and Human Performance, as well as other faculty offices and labs.

An employee first noticed an asbestos concern in McGill Hall on Dec. 12, which led to the closure and cleaning of several offices. Subsequent testing has since confirmed the presence of asbestos in other parts of the building.

UM spokeswoman Paula Short said the University will update campus and the public with more details as they become available. Information also is being posted online at http://bit.ly/2SgeMpz.

###

Contact: Paula Short, director of communications, UM Office of the President, 406-243-5608, paula.short@mso.umt.edu.