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Dial Building a ‘poster child’ for mold

By Mark Schulman and Andrea Vukcevic
Assistant and Features Editors

On Thursday, Oct. 16, the Dial Building was closed after a report confirmed the presence of 17 types of airborne mold, including the potentially toxic Stachybotrys spore, and will not reopen before Fall 2004, according to Chancellor Allen Meadors.

Childress Environmental Consultant, Inc. of Raleigh performed testing.

Meadors held an information session on Wednesday, Oct. 22 to update faculty and staff on the situation. About 100 people attended, some to accuse administration of slow reaction to earlier mold sightings and others to praise those who worked after-hours to ease complications of the relocations.

“Dial is the poster child for mold,” Meadors said.

Apparently, the building’s poor construction allowed rain to seep through the windows and run down the interior and exterior walls and this summer’s heavy rains exacerbated the problem. Stagnant moisture is a breeding ground for mold.

Contractors from Enpuricon Inc. will clean and replace the walls and seal windows to prevent water accumulation.

Professionals will test each building on campus for 30-35 types of mold at a cost of $3,000-$6,000 per facility.

“We are systematically going through every building on campus,” Meadors said.

There are 25 buildings that will be tested annually at a cost of $60,000-$100,000.

“No matter what we do, we’ll never be able to get all of the mold out of our buildings,” Meadors said.
In the next two weeks, affected faculty can go online for a schedule of when they can pick up their decontaminated personal belongings. Faculty will have new office assignments and classrooms after Christmas Break.

People with allergies and respiratory problems generally have greater sensitivity to mold.
According to a University of Minnesota website, other individuals with chronic exposure to the toxin produced by Stachybotrys have reported cold and flu symptoms, sore throats, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, dermatitis, intermittent local hair loss and generalized malaise.

Meadors thanked everyone who helped minimize the sudden complications as a result of the closing.
“We’re going to get through this,” he said.

Black Line
  The University of North Carolina at Pembroke Updated: Friday, October 24, 2003
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