MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho is spending just under $100,000 for repairs and asbestos abatement to ready the residence of the school’s new president, Duane Nellis, and his wife, Ruthie.
The couple drove to Moscow from Kansas this week, and Nellis will officially start work July 1.
“It’s been rather quick,” Assistant Vice President of Facilities Brian Johnson said of the renovations. “Seems like it was in the May time frame that we got the request to ready the house. It’s probably going on as we speak.”
University spokeswoman Tania Thompson said money to work on the house that was built in 1967 is coming from discretionary funds in the president’s office budget.
She said workers replacing bathroom tile found layers of old tile that contained asbestos. Asbestos tile in the kitchen and guest bathroom is being removed.
“As long as the asbestos is contained, if you will, it isn’t airborne, it doesn’t necessarily present a health hazard,” Thompson said. “Underneath the tile or in an unbroken piece of tile, that’s not an issue. But if you want to replace that flooring or if the flooring starts to chip and crack, asbestos material can become airborne.”
Other work on the residence includes adding wireless data capability; refinishing hardwood floors; repairing and replacing shower floors, valves and heads; replacing carpet in the basement; and cleaning carpets and drapes.
Contractors are expected to finish soon, after which a custodial team will get the house ready for the new president.
Johnson said the kitchen is not being renovated, other than refinishing the floors.
“Other than painting, which is done is in several parts of the house, I don’t think there’s work going on in any part of the kitchen,” Johnson said.