Three experts from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are at the University of South Dakota this week to evaluate the condition of Noteboom Hall following complaints that the building is making some people sick.
The university believes the building is safe, but USD requested that NIOSH do a scientific appraisal of the building after some employees filed injury reports with the state.
"Noteboom is an older building that was not designed for its current use. Nonetheless, we are committed to assuring our faculty, staff, students and visitors that the building is safe to occupy and use," said USD Provost Jim Moran. "Over the past year we have offered to move individuals to offices in other buildings but, for a number of reasons, all but one have chosen to stay in Noteboom."
Dr. Elena Page is leading the NIOSH team that also includes two industrial hygienists who will perform tests in the building. Page will conduct individual interviews with each of the people who work there. The NIOSH team is expected to release its findings in writing later this year. USD President James W. Abbott has said future use of Noteboom Hall will be guided by the NIOSH findings.
NIOSH is an arm of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency conducts research to prevent work-related illness and injuries and provides recommendations on ways to keep employees safe.
Noteboom Hall was built in 1954 as a women’s dormitory. It was repurposed in 1968 for academic and research use, and it currently houses the USD Department of Communication Science & Disorders.