Janesville45.2°

BTC works on woodworking shop air quality

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
January 17, 2008

Blackhawk Technical College officials plan to bring in an air-quality consultant to settle the question of whether dust is a hazard in the schoolís woodworking and welding shops.


The college suspended woodworking classes at the central campus last month when concerns were raised about dust. The suspensions drew protests from class members.


About 15 woodworkers attended the meeting of the BTC Board on Wednesday night. It was the second board meeting where students lodged protests.


Students told of how big a role the classes play in their lives. One woman said her Woodworking for Women class helps her keep her sanity.


Woodworker Mel Staton said he suspects the college was using the dust as an excuse to take over the woodworking shop to expand the welding program.


Officials are looking into opening classes at Janesville Craig or Beloit Memorial high schools, but those facilities donít have the equipment for the level of woodworking taught by BTC, said longtime woodworking instructor Dale Krueger.


Doug Barnes from Zimmerman Architectural Studios described an air-quality study by S.F. Analytical Laboratories of Milwaukee, which would measure airflow and dust-particle levels in two separate testing cycles, which could take four to six weeks.


Board members asked if the process could be speeded up, and Barnes said three to four weeks might be possible.


The cost will not be more than $2,500, Barnes said.


Tests results will be compared with federal air quality standards. If testing confirms the problem, then Zimmerman would work with its mechanical engineers to design a solution, Barnes said.


Testing could start as early as next week.



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