Though some asbestos was exposed after the Aug. 23 earthquake, the damage was slight and the affected wing has been re-opened. Photo by Stephen Kline

The earthquake that occurred on Aug. 23 knocked loose a few tiles in the roofing of Fenwick Library, releasing asbestos into the air.

“Some asbestos was exposed and that was the primary damage in the building [Fenwick],” George Mason University Press Secretary Dan Walsch said.

After the exposure of asbestos in Fenwick, campus environmental safety officials became concerned that the same occurrence could have happened in the older buildings on campus, so a thorough inspection of every building was conducted. These inspections were performed to check for both structural integrity and possible asbestos exposure.

Plans have also been laid down to renovate the buildings that currently have asbestos in them to prevent a recurrence in the future.

“Even as we speak things are underway in terms of upgrading, strengthening and enhancing a lot of the older buildings on campus and get them in ‘running order’ you might say,” Walsch said.

A good example of this renovation is Thompson Hall, which is currently being renovated to make it stronger and more useful as there are plans to move offices into that building in the coming future.

One wing of Fenwick was closed for roughly two weeks before re-opening to the public. According to the guidelines set forth by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the presence of asbestos in buildings is not illegal. However, should renovations take place, Mason would be forced to remove any asbestos found.