Mount Allison has committed funds to fix long-standing issues with the fume hood and ventilation systems in the Flemington Building. This year’s university budget set aside approximately $1-million for the installation of spot-ventilation and for the replacement of a faulty fume hood in the building.
Renovations began Aug. 1 and are expected to be complete by Jan. 1, in time for winter labs and classes.
“Some of the ugly stuff has already been done … the ripping out stage is done,” said Dean of Science Jeff Ollerhead.
Biology classes and labs often involve dangerous substances requiring ventilation. Most dissection labs were previously
held in ventilated spaces in Barclay, but were restricted to the winter semester, when the chemistry and biochemistry department could accommodate shared lab space.
“This has restricted our ability to move some courses forward,” said Dr. Margaret Beaton, who was acting biology department head until July. “I’m glad it’s being done,” she said of the installations. “The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is paramount.”
Laura Kaplan, a fourth-year student who studied toxic fungus over the summer in Dr. Vett Lloyd’s lab, was one of those who had to retreat to Barclay to use the fume hoods there.
“I had to use [ventilation] for my metabolite extractions because I used chloroform,” she said. “I had to carry everything over… I was running between the buildings quite a bit,” she said.
Gay Hansen, a biology instructor, is pleased that the work had begun, despite its continuation during the term. “We are living in a construction zone,” she said, “[but] we are all just so happy that this has started, and I definitely think that it’s going to be worth it to have the labs redone and to have a constant supply of fresh air.”
Hansen said the ventilation in Flemington’s teaching labs has been an issue since she started working here almost 35 years ago.
“It was disappointing because for so many years we asked, and we asked, and we asked, and we kept being told it couldn’t be done for one reason or another,” she said.
Robert Inglis, Mt. A’s vice-president administration, said the delay was caused by too little cash for too many projects.
“At any time, we have numerous projects that can be done, and we always have more projects than we have funds to do them, so it’s always a process of what goal comes next … that planning process is iterative, constant and ongoing,” he said.