COLUMBIA — University of South Carolina officials say they’re launching new procedures to improve how building renovations are handled after paying more than $175,000 in state fines for violating environmental laws that protect students and staff from asbestos.

The State of Columbia reports that the university has paid the fines in the past four years for violations that include breaking promises to state regulators the school would improve asbestos handling practices.

Asbestos is a building material that causes cancer and breathing disorders.

USC’s asbestos violations occurred during renovation or repair projects at three student apartment complexes, a medical school building and Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.

State Department of Health and Environmental Control enforcement records show violations also occurred at a building at USC’s branch campus in Lancaster.