Mold closes Chapel Hill High media center

Sep. 09, 2013 @ 05:38 PM

Clean-up is under way at Chapel Hill High School after mold was discovered last week in the school’s media center.

The media center in Chapel Hill High School is closed this week as professional contractors clean the library, including the shelves and books, after staff at the high school reported mold on the spines of leather-bound books.
“We consulted with both the Orange County Public Health Department and the North Carolina Public Health Department and have shared our approach and plan to clean the media center with the respective officials,” said Jeff Nash, office of community relations for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in a press release. “They are supportive of our plan and approach. An Orange County health official will visit the school this week to observe the cleaning process.
“The doors and vents to the media center will be sealed in plastic and an air containment system will be used to filter the air and exhaust it to the outside,” Nash said. “… the process will be monitored by an industrial hygienist to assure safe cleaning procedures are followed.”
The cleaning will take place when school is not in session.
The cleanup of mold in the media center is estimated to cost between $15,000 and $20,000. There have been no reports of any chronic health problems being aggravated because of the mold in either students or staff. No other schools in the district have reported mold in their facilities.
The mold is being attributed to this summer’s wet weather and humidity. When Chapel Hill saw flooding in June, the high school began to develop mold. A contractor was brought in to take care of repairs and remove mold, school officials said.
“We are asking employees to report any mold sightings to administration in order to arrange for safe and expedient removal.”
A report Monday stated that an employee’s camera bag had mold on it, Nash added.
To prevent a recurrence of mold growth in the school, Chapel Hill High will run its boilers and air-conditioning system simultaneously to help maintain low humidity levels. Nash said that this is not a “good long-term approach” and that “the district has conducted a professional facility analysis of our older schools and is developing long-term solutions to address challenges such as these.”
Chapel Hill High School was built in 1966 and currently has a list of repairs and renovations to be addressed including an HVAC upgrade, floor replacement, exterior waterproofing and drainage.
“The board will be discussing a long range facility study report at its meeting on Sept. 19,” Nash said. “The study will provide a more detailed analysis of the needs.”