Saturday, April 5, 2008

Work Resumes

Jennifer Work resumed this past week on the second floor of Building 18C, for the most part. The hallway still smells of smoke, the big lab has been gutted, and our break room has been taken over by the clean-up crew, so everyone is eating in the large room downstairs ("We must all make sacrifices, in times like these," one student sighed at lunch last Wednesday). On the other hand, "the stuff" seems to be out of the air now, after they ran large air filters continuously for more than a week. We are still keeping our office doors closed, due to the noise from the cleaning, but time marches on and the situation improves day by day.

The technicians are not too happy, as they are now crammed into a lab space about a fifth of the size that they are used to. The clean-up crew ended up tearing everything out of the lab that did not have a stainless steel surface, as "the stuff" would not come off of other surfaces, even with industrial-strength solvents. Gel rigs, chairs, cabinets, glassware, my never-used lab coat, any reagents or kits that were left out... all are now in the trash (and the kits, being consumables, were not insured).

Enough time has passed that people now seem to feel that awkward questions like "who's going to pay for all this?" can be discussed at fika. Some think that it may be quite a legal mess for quite a long time, and that the University (or its insurers) may sue the building contractors, because it turns out that there are no smoke detectors in the lab or offices in our building at all, only in the corridors (where a fire is least likely to start). If things here are at all like they are back home, I will be long gone from here before the situation is fully resolved.

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