Tab for school mold problem may exceed $383,000


The Vigo County School Corp. is asking for an emergency allocation of $383,964 from the capital projects fund for mold remediation at West Vigo High School.

On Monday, the School Board will be asked to declare an emergency so that the funds can be used. The amount represents an estimate.

The facilities, support and transportation department "does not have sufficient funds available ... to complete the mold remediation project," and as a result, "is requesting funds from the capital project emergency allocation line item," according to a letter prepared by Joe Etling, school board attorney.

The letter outlines the school's problems with, and response to, "significantly elevated levels of aspergillus/penicillium (mold spores) within classrooms and other areas of the school." 

The estimated costs include $60,000 to Serv Pro for dehumidification and scrubbing, as well as $75,000 to Environmental Management Specialists for removal of carpet and flooring (down to the concrete) from 24 classrooms. 

Removing flooring involved some asbestos-containing materials under the carpet, which added to the cost, said Richard Long,  assistant director of facilities, support and transportation.

Other costs include $31,640 to DK Flooring for labor; $13,212 to Flooring America for materials; $61,916 to Sycamore Engineering to refurbish and perform maintenance on 45 classroom HVAC units; $18,396 to Rose and Walker Siding (materials); $76,800 to Serve Pro (labor to replace ceiling tile and final cleaning of those rooms once remediation work is complete); $15,000 to Gribbons Insulation to replace insulation on all HVAC supply lines; $20,000 to ACM for consulting services; and $12,000 to Barton Environmental for air quality testing.

In his letter, Etling said cleaning staff discovered mold just prior to the start of the 2016-17 school year; conventional cleaning methods were initially used, but "ultimately ineffective," Etling wrote.

The department "continued to have ongoing concerns regarding the extent of the mold problem, even after students returned from summer break on Aug. 9."

 It was not until Aug. 15 that professional testing revealed the full extent of the problem.

Long "has provided our office with a copy of the test results, which demonstrated significantly elevated levels of aspergillus penicillium (mold spores) within classrooms and other areas of the school," the letter said.

The district "promptly introduced dehumidifers and air scrubbers and retained the professional services of an expert consultant to assist with the mold remediation efforts."

VCSC also contacted the health department "due to health and safety concerns." The health department recommended immediate closure of areas of most concern, including some classrooms, until the problem was resolved. The health department also identified groups of students and faculty that would be at an increased risk of suffering adverse health effects due to the mold.

The district developed a comprehensive mold remediation plan with the assistance of an expert consultant (ACM) and the health department.

On Friday, Long said the $383,964 is the maximum that can be spent for the remediation from the emergency allocation. As far as the status of remediation, he said all carpeting and related flooring had been removed, and installation of the vinyl tile flooring is about 40 percent complete.

Once that is done, affected rooms will undergo a final cleaning, he said.

Earlier this week, Superintendent Danny Tanoos said the district believed it had identified the sources of the mold problem at the school and was continuing to take steps to address it. “We think we will have won the battle by the end of the month,” he said at the time.

Source: http://www.tribstar.com/news/local_news/tab-for-school-mold-problem-may-exceed/article_955b9a36-4982-51df-9afb-a6e172733c7a.html
Photo Source: www.onesourcene.com
 

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