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Mold found in Dial and Pine Hall

By Michael Graham
Staff Writer

University officials discovered mold Aug. 30 in the Dial Humanities Building and also Pine Hall, according to Dr. Richard Vela, chair of the Faculty Senate’s Health, Safety and Environmental Committee.            

This time it is Aspergillus/Penicillium and Cladosporium spores, the “garden variety” type found naturally in the air, not the  Stachybotrys kind found in 2003, according to R. Neil Hawk, vice chancellor for business affairs.

High humidity has caused rooms in Pine Hall and the Dial Humanities Building to grow and spread mold. Dial room 248, above, was one of the rooms in which the mold was discovered and which has been cleaned.

Photo By Dan Kelly
High humidity has caused rooms in Pine Hall and the Dial Humanities Building to grow and spread mold. Dial room 248, above, was one of the rooms in which the mold was discovered and which has been cleaned.
The university acted quickly, having discovered the mold on a Wednesday and having an outside consultant on site by that Friday, Vela said.            

UNCP has had the visible mold in both buildings tested and have found their levels to be high, although less than the level in the outside air, according to the testing agency’s report. 

Both buildings have  been cleaned and are being monitored, according to reports made available by Hawk.            

Room 248 in Dial had a spore count of 18,887, while the outside air contained a count greater than 25,704. 

Rooms 125 and 105 both had a count of around 1,000, according to the testing agency’s report. Physical Plant personnel have found the main problem with both buildings is humidity.             

Heating and air systems need to be monitored to prevent too much humidity from  getting into the walls.

Pine Hall needs to calibrate some thermostats and add some reheat coils to its air handlers, according to recommendations.             
Dial may need a full system replacement. The later is an action that may take place soon, Vela said.

Several students in Pine Hall expressed a common sentiment that the mold needs to be cleaned up.            

Erin F. Garceau, a senior biology major, said, “It looked like they were just painting over it.”

Affected areas, however, are cleaned first with a disinfectant/cleaner and then painted, reported Physical Plant personnel.             Jorge L. Rodriguez Jr., a sophomore history education major, has most of his classes in Dial.                                    

“They need to fix the ventilation system or it will just get worse,” he said.            

Dial was closed October 2003, after airborne mold was found, cleaned and reopened fall of 2004.

“Many faculty and staff who were here in the previous incident feared a reenactment of that scenario,” said Vela, a professor in the English, Theater and Languages Department.             

But, the faculty reaction, he said, is really the only comparison to the previous find. 

According to Vela, there is really no reason to worry.            

“In reality, everything that is happening is within the range of things we can handle,” he said, “It seems that we have it contained this time.”

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Updated: Sunday, October 1, 2006
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