By Tyler Mercer and Genevieve Mills –
A month has passed since freshmen students here at the University of Louisville were informed that their dorm rooms were infested with mold. All of these students have since been relocated. Now for the question everyone is thinking. Is this is the end of the mold talk, or are we in for a long haul?
The Louisville Cardinal received an anonymous tip that the residence halls known as The Complex (Wellness Hall, Center Hall, West Hall) might have a mold problem comparable to that of Threlkeld Hall.
In Threlkeld, mold was found in the air vents. The air heating fans were turned off and the honors dorm will be seeing the replacement of air conditioning units in the near future because of the mold discovery there, but students will not be expected to move from their rooms.
According Shannon Staten, director of residence administration, “In the middle of October, after mold was found in Threlkeld Hall, a third party contractor [National Environmental Services Inc.] was hired by the University of Louisville to examine the air quality of other buildings such as The Complex.”
While our source said that the mold level at the Complex was similar to that at Threlkeld, Staten stated that the situation was considered “habitable” and that experts said there was no cause for alarm and that no further action needed to be taken at the Complex.
Staten said, “In Center, we had a handful of rooms that the readings were little high, so we turned their fans off and sure enough they went right back down, so part of what we’re doing is we’re cleaning and we’re replacing units in Threlkeld and in the Complex area as well, and what we’re trying out now to figure out the schedule and what we’re going to do.”
When asked about the reports made by National Environmental Services, Staten said that they could not be released, due to the fact that they are not “interpret-able.”
Said Staten of mold in other dorms, “We knew that we had some. There’s always mold. Mold is present everywhere. So our goal would be to have it the same level, as it would be anywhere else.”
When asked about mold possibly making its way to her dorm Richelle Henderson, freshman Elementary Education major, said, “I’m not worried about it.”
Staten also told The Cardinal that the university is anticipating spending anywhere from $3 to $3.5 million on mold cleanup. The safety of students is still the greatest priority for administration. Miller Hall will be back to livable conditions by January. Students will be able to move back into Miller Hall on Jan. 5th of 2013.
UPDATE: November 20, 2012, 12:10 am
Regarding mold levels in Center Hall, U of L spokesman Mark Hebert told the Cardinal that “air tests in Center showed some elevated levels of mold spores in some parts of Center – nothing close to what was in Miller and no reason to move any students other than those who might have severe allergies or compromised immune systems…”
While spot cleaning has been conducted in some Center rooms, Hebert says that the university is considering whether there is a need to take further action. One option would be to completely clean all HVAC systems during the holidays.
Editor-in-Chief Rae Hodge contributed to this story