The apparent low bidder on the WVU Coliseum asbestos abatement project is USA Remediation Services Inc. of Warrenton, Va., Joe Fisher, assistant vice president for facilities and services, announced today.

USA Remediation was one of six firms to bid on the multimillion-dollar project to remove the sprayed-on fireproofing insulation material from the arenas concrete dome and replace it with a suitable material. The firms total bid was $7.8 million; a $5.8 million base bid for the dome area, $1.3 million for work in select hallways and rooms in the outer concourse and $563,000 to replace bleachers.

Bids ranged from a low of $7.8 million to a high of about $14.6 million.

“The bids were very favorable, with three firms tightly grouped,”Fisher said.”USA Remediation met all the pre-qualifying specifications and then came in at the lowest price. We will now go through some additional approval steps like having APEX , our professional consultants, review and analyze the three lowest bids and consult with our purchasing department, administrators and Board before taking the paperwork to Charleston.”

He added,”But I can honestly say that we are happy to have this process behind us so that we can now move forward on the important work that lies ahead.”

USA Remediation Services should get started no later than March 1 sooner, if possible erecting the 150-foot-high scaffolding that will be necessary to reach the basketball arenas domed ceiling. The contract calls for the work to be completed within 230 days of the notice to proceed, Fisher said, putting the projected completion date at Oct. 17prior to the start of basketball practice.

The 14,000-seat arena has been sealed and closed to the public since August. Most offices in the outer ring are now relocated to leased office facilities around Morgantown, with the remaining athletic offices and staff to be relocated next month. Classes have been moved to other campus locations and athletic contests are being played at other Morgantown and state sites.

Asbestos-containing material coats the ceiling of the 30-year-old shell-shaped facility. Such products were commonly used worldwide in the 1960s and early 1970s as a fireproofing and insulation material before their dangers were discovered.

While regular air monitoring and testing by WVU and a third party contractor indicated no health risks to occupants, WVU in cooperation with the EPA , closed the Coliseum arena in August when agreement could not be reached on testing protocols.

To help communicate information on the upcoming project and status of other campus facilities, WVUs Faculty Senate will host a University-wide Information Forum on Asbestos Management Monday, Jan. 31, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the Gluck Theatre, Mountainlair