UNM art students say fumes from construction causing health concerns

UNM art students say they’re having a hard time concentrating, and they say it’s because of fumes funneled into their building.

The students say the problem is coming from the new physics building, but they say the construction is the reason they’re feeling sick.

“It’s hard to do work when you have a headache,” says Jane.

Jane is a senior art student at UNM.

Since the start of the school year, she says the construction on the new physics and astronomy building next door has become a huge distraction inside the art building, but it’s not just the noise.

“It was so strong that students started to complain about sore throats, difficulty breathing,” says Hannah Mora.

Mora, also an art student, says in the past few weeks the fumes from the construction have added to their stress.

She says the students had to abandon a studio this weekend because the odor was so powerful.

“Unfortunately I had to close it because it started to smell like spray paint fumes,” says Mora.

Mora complained about the smell to her instructor. She believes the school then tried to divert the problem by adding five fans to the back of the art building.

“It’s the equivalent to throwing a bucket of water on a burning tree,” says Jane.

“[The fans] are not working at all,” says Mora.

However, a spokesperson with UNM says the odor is not harmful. They say construction staff will try to minimize the smell until the project is finished.

Mora and Jane say it should’ve been a concern before the construction even started.

“Maybe relocating the art students somewhere else, and/or putting off construction during school hours,” says Jane.

“They should’ve implemented health procedures towards the students, the faculty, anyone who is being effected by this,” says Mora.

The students have an art show on Oct. 5, but they say because of the fumes and loud noises from the construction, it might be delayed.

The new physics and astronomy building is set to be completed in fall of 2019.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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