Georgia Southern officials announced Friday that they were notified late Thursday night preliminary test results on the unknown substance removed from Lewis Hall Wednesday were negative. The tests confirmed that the substance did not contain any hazardous materials.
The substance was discovered Tuesday when an employee in the admissions office in Lewis Hall opened a package containing the suspicious white powder. No one reported the find immediately, but after one person was reported to be ill Wednesday morning, someone notified GSU Police, said Mike Russell, director of public safety at GSU.
Test results from the Georgia Public Health Laboratory in Decatur were not available Thursday. A spokesman at that facility said the Federal Bureau of Investigation would release the results when tests were concluded, which they did late Thursday.
According to an email from Christian Flathman, director of marketing and communications at GSU, the university would conduct a thorough cleaning of the building and Lewis Hall would reopen Monday.
HazMat and emergency response crews spent most of the day Wednesday at Lewis Hall, an administrative building that houses the university's office of admissions, to test and remove the unknown substance.
Russell said Thursday the university is reviewing possible changes and updates regarding university employee response to suspicious packages and substances.
He said changes and additions to the plan may include specific response procedures for suspicious substances, packages and other items.
The Lewis Hall employees who first opened the package Tuesday "didn't think anything of it" until a worker who handled the package became ill the next day, he said.
Upon receiving the report Wednesday morning around 9 a.m., GSU Public Safety and University Police responded, along with several other agencies including the Statesboro Fire Department, Bulloch County Fire Department, and Statesboro Police.
A number of other emergency response teams including Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia National Guard also responded later Wednesday.