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Northern Middle mold not expected to hamper roof replacement

September 08, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Mold found above a ceiling at Northern Middle School is not at a level expected to require additional, unplanned work, Rodney Turnbough, the school system's director of facilities management, said Tuesday.

The school's roof, which dates to when the school was built in 1980, is to be replaced in the summer of 2005 as part of the school system's Capital Improvement Plan, he said.

The preliminary cost estimate for the roof replacement is $400,000, Turnbough said.

A letter signed by Principal Barbara Rice was sent home Friday, Sept. 3, to inform parents that mold found at the school would be monitored and tested.

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Another letter was sent home Tuesday telling parents about test results received Friday afternoon.

"We did not know what we had until we ran the tests," Turnbough said Tuesday.

Mold levels inside and outside the Hagerstown school, which has 710 students, were tested, and the area of the roof was repaired at a cost of less than $2,000, he said.

The mold was found Aug. 25 on the underside of the roof deck above the school media center's ceiling, Turnbough said. It was found when a plumber, called to fix a sprinkler pipe leak, removed a ceiling tile, Turnbough said.

Rice said parents she spoke to Tuesday were pleased that the school system acted quickly to get the mold tested. School employees also were pleased with how the problem was addressed, she said.

There was a high attendance rate Tuesday despite the news of the mold, she said.

Tests determined that the mold found above the ceiling is stachybotrys, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control Web site, is a less common mold than other species, but is found in buildings where there is moisture.

Molds can cause hay fever-like allergic symptoms, according to the CDC Web site. Individuals with chronic respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or asthma, may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression may be at increased risk for infection from molds, according to the Web site.

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