Wall NJ: Mold Spores Detected In Two Classroom Trailers

Source: New Jersey Patch

The Wall Township Board of Education had to schedule a special meeting to discuss its options after high levels of mold spores were detected in two of four classroom trailers at Central Elementary School.

Repair work on the trailers was halted Tuesday evening by the school board amid public outcry over the condition of the trailers, which had been used for classroom space since they were installed in 2007.

The trailers were scheduled for repairs this summer, with the district budgeting about $38,000 for what initially was anticipated to be the replacement of some of the wood and the addition of vinyl siding to the trailers, district business administrator Brian Smyth said at a recent board meeting. But issues with the first company that was going to do the repairs led to a delay in the work, which finally began Aug. 15.

As contractors began removing the existing wood siding, they discovered the needed repairs were more extensive, Smyth said. Parents who got wind of the extensive damage, which included rotting floor joists, took photos and shared them on social media, which led to a firestorm of criticism.

Fifth-grade students were supposed to have their classes in the trailers when school opens on Sept. 5, but that was plan was scrapped and those students’ classrooms will now be in the main building.

The trailers were meant to be temporary, school superintendent Cheryl Dyer said, and cautioned that replacing the trailers would require receiving approval from the state Department of Education, which is not guaranteed.

“Is this cost effective?” asked Ralph Addonizio, who was voted in as the board’s new president. “At what point is it not worth putting more money in?” The mold spore findings may have answered that question: mold remediation in classrooms has cost other districts more than $100,000.

According to the report by Brian Nemetz the technical director of industrial hygiene services, health & safety services, there was a musty smell in some of the trailers but they could not find where the water had gotten into them.

Nemetz recommends the following actions:

  • Conduct a through building envelope assessment and take remedial action to seal the building envelope if any deficiencies are noted according to applicable industry and governmental guidelines/requirements. This should include an engineering study of the space.
  • Replace or remediate rotted wooden supports and siding according to applicable industry and governmental guidelines/requirements.
  • A further inspection of the interior sections of the walls should be completed to ensure there is not a hidden fungal reservoir. As part of this, further remediation efforts my be required.
  • Inspect the HVAC equipment to ensure proper operation and cleanliness.
  • Upon completion of all remediation efforts, conduct a post-remediation investigation to determine if any additional moisture and or microbial damaged building materials remains.
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