January 10, 2014

Miller Mold: gone for good?

By Olivia Krauth–

More than 100 students returned to a cleaner, safer dorm as 56 rooms in Miller Hall received new, mold-free wardrobes over winter break. The project is one of the last steps in ridding Miller Hall of mold infestations appearing since fall 2012.

The director of university housing says any second or third floor rooms not previously affected by mold this past semester received new wardrobes and had floor tiles repaired.

Students who got new wardrobes over break had to completely move out of their room to make room for the project. U of L Housing provided on-site storage for belongings, along with movers to assist in the process. Shannon Staten reports that there were no student complaints regarding the winter break process.

Freshman French and communications double major William Dalen Barlow was one of the students who returned to a nicer room. He says that he did not really have any major issues with the move out process.

“It was just a little frustrating having to move everything and box up the things I didn’t want to take home, but everything was taken care of and it was back where it was supposed to be (upon returning),” said Barlow.

The university hopes this project was the last mold-related changes facing the second and third floors. All the molding wardrobes had been on those floors–forcing some students to move out earlier in the fall semester. The first and fourth floors have not had any reported mold, but their wardrobes will be replaced in May once students move out for the summer.

The work on the freshman-only residence hall has raised some questions why it took two major mold outbreaks to address the problem. Staten said housing has done nothing but follow expert advice to solve the problem.

“We did everything last year we were advised we should do,” said Staten. “At that time, the experts thought the wardrobes would be okay to stay  We thought we had taken care of it, but then apparently the wardrobes were just old enough too, that they absorb moisture that they started creating a problem this fall.”

At press time the university was still gathering the expense total for the most recent work.

Some work in hallways and a few rooms in The Complex was also completed while students were away. The Complex rooms have been known to have mold as well, but the infestations were less severe than Miller.

While it appears the mold problem is solved for now, Staten says that this is not the end of long-term mold work for housing.

“We are still investigating doing some long-term work in Miller, like some fresh air intake,” said Staten. She said that this work will take place sometime in the “next few years.”

Past efforts to clean up the mold resulted in residents needing to move to other dorms while workers completely cleaned their room. This time, residents seemed to be “very happy” upon returning to their dorm after break, according to Staten.

When asked what his initial reaction was to his upgraded room, Barlow said, “It was so much nicer. I love the new floors and the new wardrobes. It’s so much better than the old rooms.”

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