Hinsdale Middle School remains closed for mold cleanup - KMSP-TV

Hinsdale Middle School remains closed for mold cleanup

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HINSDALE, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills District 181 Board will hold an emergency meeting Monday to address mold issues at Hinsdale Middle School as classes were postponed yet another day.

The board will hear reports from Integrity Environmental Services and SERVPRO, as well as consider expenses related to steps to address the issues at the middle school. There will be an opportunity for public comment.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Elm School, 6010 S Elm St, Burr Ridge.

Sunday, officials learned of two additional steps to remediate the mold found in the building that, if approved by the board, would cancel classes the rest of the week. The district already closed Hinsdale Middle School through Wednesday. The district is working with the Illinois State Board of Education on options for school makeup days.

The proposal before the board tonight involves cleaning the ductwork throughout the building and removing the cove molding (baseboards) and any drywall that touches the flooring. The action comes after district officials over the weekend revealed a second pipe leak during the recent cold spell that closed all district schools for two days, and a city water main leak affecting the middle school. The discovery of mold Jan. 16 led to a decision last week to cancel all after-school activities and keep the school closedFriday. Classes were already canceled for Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Teachers and other staff have complained to the School Board about health concerns. Heather Scott, co-president of the Hinsdale Clarendon Hills Teachers' Association and a sixth-grade language art teacher at HMS, told the board Dec. 13 of concerns because of continued building problems with water leaks and resulting increased moisture, which can result in mold.

In a statement released late Saturday night, district officials said the buildings and ground department first discovered mold in an upstairs bathroom at Hinsdale Middle School in July 2012, prompting a search that also uncovered mold on a wall between the choir and music rooms, in a custodial closet in the kitchen and on other bathroom walls. The cause was determined to be related to a leak in a pipe, missing caulking in the closet and the manner in which bathroom were mopped. Abatement was done at the time and drywall replaced with a concrete drywall. Air quality tests before the start of the 2012-13 school year confirmed it was within federal and state requirements, district officials said.

However, mold was discovered in August 2013 on drywall in classroom 223, near an exterior window, and in classrooms 225 and 228. Hygieneering, Inc. of Willowbrook assisted in further evaluations and remediation of the identified mold, including the removal of the bottom 2-4 feet of drywall, officials said. A mold and moisture assessment at the time found no visible mold growth on readily accessible drywall, and no moldy or musty odors.

Over Columbus Day weekend last October, isolated sections of wet drywall were removed and replaced. Hygieneering, Inc. confirmed the area was safe for students and staff to return to school, though Hygieneering, Inc. suggested engaging a structural engineering firm to review the moisture findings and assist in identifying the source, officials said.

That led to independent air quality testing between Nov. 26 and Dec. 23 by Integrity Environmental Services of Naperville. Those results, received Jan. 14, showed the air quality to be well within acceptable guidelines, district officials said.

A frozen pipe was discovered Jan. 4 in room 215, prompting water to be shut off to that pipe. Later than day, about 8 p.m., a pipe burst in the sprinkler system due to the extreme weather, causing damage to all three levels of the school ACR of Wheeling, a disaster recovery company, assisted with clean up including dehumidifying and installing filters to clean the air.

However, shortly before students returned to school Jan. 8, a water pipe broke in room 216 causing additional water damage to the music room below. Officials moved staff to other areas of the building, but as cleaning continued and the outside temperature rose, water began dripping from the roof onto the ceiling of the second floor, district officials said. Then rain Jan. 10 overflowed the gutters and downspout systems leading to more interior leaks.

Results from the Jan. 16 mold test show concentrations of mold spores on the drywall and surface samples tested. SERPRO is continuing to clean and seal areas to prevent future mold growth, but has determined the additional time is needed, prompting the decision to keep Hinsdale Middle School closed at least through Wednesday, district officials said.

Renovations began in rooms 215 and 216, with remaining floor tile removed in room 216 and substantial drywall work completed in room 215. Results of another mold test to determine any change in mold levels are expected by Wednesday.

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