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Wed, June 26

PHS: Mold at school is not a health issue

PRESCOTT – Spray Systems, a Phoenix environmental construction company, will begin removing a patch of black mold Monday from an interior wall toward the rear of Prescott High School.

Principal Tim Carter said Tuesday that a workman preparing a wall for painting in Room 301 found the mold behind a large bulletin board. The school's environmental consultant, Kathleen Frost of Western Technologies, took samples from the wall, carpet and surrounding areas.

Test results indicated the presence of Aspergillus Niger, a pathogen. The school got approval from National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants officials to begin work immediately.

"We have no reason to believe there's a negative health issue at this point," Carter said. "The mold was very isolated and not airborne, as far as we know."

Further, he noted that Room 301 is a spare classroom that teachers and students used infrequently.

The paint job was part of a project to make that room into a café for the Family Consumer Science (home economics) classroom next door in Room 300.

As yet, no one knows if the mold resulted from a previous roof leak or from a sink on the other side of the wall.

According to Carter, both rooms are off limits until further notice to everyone except abatement workers, who will remove the affected wall and carpet in a contained environment.

Then Western Technologies will perform environmental testing. Once the school receives necessary clearances and all state and federal reporting is done, workers will replace the wall and carpet.

Carter expects the work to be finished by Aug. 8, when faculty returns. School starts Aug. 13.

Carter won't know if sheet rock on the other side of the non-load-bearing wall contains mold until workmen open it. Therefore, he can't estimate how much it will cost to fix it.

The district hopes the State Facilities Board will foot the bill. If not, the district will have to tap its property sale or building renewal funds.

Nearly two years ago, the school found and removed stachybotrys fungus from the Vocational Building and other spots under leaky roofs, which the district replaced.

For more information, contact Carter at 445-2322.

Contact Louise Koniarski at lkoniarski@prescottaz.com.

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