This is a brief update on the Army Corps of Engineers operations as they currently affect campus. The Corps completed their excavation behind Hamilton Hall on January 11, and no chemical warfare materiel was found. Normal university operations resumed on January 12 in the Hamilton and Kreeger buildings, which were evacuated during the excavation as a safety precaution. Restoration of the site has begun, and we await the final results of soil testing.
On Wednesday afternoon (January 17), we received preliminary notice that soil tests recently conducted by the Corps in the area around the Child Development Center show signs of the presence of a higher concentration of chemicals in the soil than previous tests had indicated. While roughly half of the samples were within the EPA safety range, roughly half were not. These preliminary data are being analyzed to determine the significance of these findings.
In the meantime, I have decided that the University should not take any chances with the safety of CDC children and teachers. Therefore, as of January 18, the Child Development Center will be operating in Leonard Hall, and will do so until we are able to determine what next steps need to be taken. We are discussing the data with the Army and will be developing a comprehensive plan to remedy the CDC area.
I would like to stress that the findings of the Army were reported to us as preliminary, and that we that will move as quickly as possible to verify conclusively their accuracy and meaning. Also, we will be scheduling an information meeting with CDC parents and teachers.
There is no higher priority for the University than the safety of our entire campus community. We will continue to communicate our findings and actions on a regular basis.