Mold cleanup at Dana Road school to begin with moving books Saturday

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 8, 2000

Cleaning up the moldy library at Vicksburg Intermediate and Dana Road Elementary will begin Saturday with the removal of the 14,000 infested books.

The Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees Thursday night accepted a cleanup proposal from Munters Moisture Control Services of Harahan, La. The process will cost the district $33,517.

“Go to work, Mr. Holzhalb,” board president Zelmarine Murphy told Joe Holzhalb, the company’s district manager after the unanimous vote.

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Problems at the year-old Dana Road school began when a power failure in July shut down the air conditioning system for a weekend. After three days of heat and humidity built up, mold began growing on the books, forcing school officials to quarantine the library, Superintendent Donald Oakes said.

During Thursday night’s special meeting, Holzhalb presented the three-phase proposal to remove the fungus.

The first will begin Saturday morning with the removal of the books from the library that serves about 1,300 students. The books will be taken to Munters’ facility in Harahan to be dried, cleaned with a HEBA vacuum process and treated for mold, Holzhalb said.

“The cleaning of the books is a piece of cake for us,” he said.

The second phase will begin a week later, on Sept. 16, when workers will return to the school to clean the library. The procedure will include cleaning the heating and air conditioning system, air ducts, floors, ceiling, walls and furniture, Holzhalb said.

“We will wipe off every inch of the walls and everything,” he said.

If all goes well, on Sept. 17, the books will be returned to the library and the third phase, an environmental testing by Enviro-Care Inc., will be conducted, Holzhalb said.

“I can assure you we will do the job right,” Holzhalb said. “I will guarantee our work, (but) if you lose environmental control, it could happen again.”

To prevent a future problem with mold, the school district has installed humidity-sensing devices at the Dana Road school and the one on Sherman Avenue, the district’s two newest and largest schools, and a sensor on the air conditioning system that will automatically page district employees if the chillers fail again, Oakes said.

“We think we’ve found other problems with the chillers,” he said.

The chillers, which cool fresh air brought in through the air conditioning system, were blamed for the failure in the Dana Road unit. The units were under a one-year warranty, but were installed more than 12 months ago, Oakes said.

School administrators are investigating whether an insurance claim can be filed to recover some of the money spent on the cleanup, he said.

“It’s going to be our responsibility to make sure this never happens again,” Oakes said.

In other matters, the board:

Authorized advertising for bids on 16th section land on Dana Road for bow hunting.

Heard a report from the transportation department that none of the district’s Thomas Built buses are part of the 46,000 buses reported last week to have defective brakes. Thomas Built Buses Inc. of High Point, N.C., has warned hundreds of school districts nationwide that a defect in the antilock brake system on buses manufactured between March 1998 and last month may result in the temporary loss of brakes in one or more wheel positions.

“None of our buses are affected by this recall,” Oakes said.

The school board will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the school administration office.