Park Cabin, the lone building standing in the woods behind the Parkwoods apartment complex, is infected with asbestos, a mineral fiber that is found in rocks and soil. But Eldon Kurtz, the Physical Plant Director, says it is nothing to worry about at the moment. The building has been locked since November, 2012.
Some forms of asbestos are used for their desirable physical properties such as fiber strength and heat resistance. However, the more common utterance of the word lends to negative connotations. The small asbestos fibers that now leak from the tiles of the cabin can cause serious illness, including malignant lung cancer.
The asbestos, however, is not the main cause for concern. Eldon Kurtz mentioned the degraded condition of the structure and the poor upkeep it has received in the past.
“The building is suffering from neglect,” he said.
And, because the building is suf- fering from neglect, the asbestos may not stay contained within the tiles, which will make entering the cabin a potentially dangerous situation, hence the locked door.
Park Cabin has significant history for the school. The graduating classes of 1946, 1952, and 1953 raised, as a joint senior gift effort, money for the original construction and renovation of the cabin. It stands in place of what used to be the hub of EMU traffic. The first EMU building, a hotel, was built on the grounds where Park Cabin now stands.
Josh Kanagy, senior Co-President of the Earthkeepers club, who has been in contact with Kurtz regarding the future of the building, mentioned several possible future plans.
“It’ll be demolished, unless there’s enough interest and some type of fund- raising effort to renovate [or rebuild],” Kanagy said.
He also made it clear that although EMU does not have the funds needed to renovate or rebuild, the immediate plans do not include demolition. Demolition, however, is the default option, granted that the necessary funds can- not be generated.
If EMU can produce the funds for a renovation or rebuilding project, the cabin will potentially exceed its former status. In the past, everything from cof- feehouses to dance parties to seniors’ capstone presentations took place in the building, and the Earthkeepers club used it as their weekly meeting place.
Both Kanagy and Kurtz have high hopes for future plans.
Kurtz describes a re-vamped cab- in with indoor plumbing, a kitchenette area, classroom space for ecology classes (both for EMU and EMHS), a breezeway, and open deck space. He says of possible future plans:
“It would be some sort of commu- nity effort to meet the needs of the next 50 years.”