Gas facility to keep ULV scientists safe

Dr. Iraj Parchamazad, professor of chemistry, stands among the construction of four new rooms on the east side of the Mainiero building. Dr. Parchamazad said the structure will serve as a safe storage facility for student lab chemicals. / photo by Christie Reed
Dr. Iraj Parchamazad, professor of chemistry, stands among the construction of four new rooms on the east side of the Mainiero building. Dr. Parchamazad said the structure will serve as a safe storage facility for student lab chemicals. / photo by Christie Reed

by Michelle Thornton
Staff Writer

Native residents of California and La Verne are accustomed to the quakes that periodically rock through the state without any warning. The procedures to follow are drilled into a person’s head. When the ground begins to shake, residents duck and take cover. No problem.

So what action is taken when the science lab that houses chemicals at the University of La Verne explodes and one is exposed to flesh eating chemicals?

This is no longer a concern for the Natural Science Department. As a part of an on-going program, a chemical storage facility is being built to house chemicals that were previously tenants of the Mainiero labs.

“Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) is the most important thing for all universities. They come out and want to see your labs and make sure that you compile with all the codes to make it safe for the students,” said Dr. Iraj Parchamazad, professor of chemistry.

The program was designed to rehabilitate and update the University’s resources so they may better serve the students.

Dr. Robert Neher, chair of natural sciences, said, “The new facility will reduce the risk of possible accidents, even in earthquake conditions to virtually zero.”

Sophomore biology major Tracey Owen said, “I think the facility is a good idea. I will feel safer when I am in the chem lab now for four hours.”

After a very involved process, which included several meetings between the Science Department that consists of Dr. Neher, Dr. Jay Jones, professor of biology and biochemistry, Brian Worley, director of facilities management, and Dr. Parchamazad, along with city planning officials, the architectural firm NTD, and the fire marshal, construction was under way.

Sophomore chemistry major Shannon Hancock said, “It’s good, they should have done it a long time ago. The chemicals we work with are dangerous.”

Expected to be finished within the next two months, the brick and concrete building will provide four separate rooms to contain the unnamed chemicals. The steel cabinets will provide the strong chemicals in a closure that is ideal for chemical storage and special ventilation will also be a part of the foundation.

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