No remediation needed for mold at Western Vance
Low headroom in the crawl space, combined with heavy mold accumulation, made for difficult working conditions this weekend at Western Vance High School.
Vance County School’s maintenance department personnel began patchwork repairs on the school’s badly corroded heat pipes located beneath the crawl space, which is as low as 20 inches. The 93-year-old pipes, which leak hot steam in some places, could fail this winter and the patchwork is being done as county school leaders look for a long-term solution to fix the heating problems.
The school board’s building and grounds committee addressed the topic of mold at its last meeting and committee member Ed Wilson requested the mold be tested.
The mold found in the crawlspace was sampled and sent to a testing laboratory, VCS spokesperson Terri Hedrick wrote in an email. She did not state the type of mold found.
She added that the test results found no issues requiring remediation, but officials have suggested that workers wear a respirator while under the building.
Hedrick said the presence of mold can be expected in any old building.
“There may not be any harm but its a smart thing to wear a respirator just in case,” she said.
At the committee’s April 2013 meeting, Woods described the heating issue as “catastrophic.” Since then, the committee has discussed doing patchwork to maintain the system, possibly replacing the boilers with heat pumps and the use of mobile units in case the patchwork fails to keep the system working.
A report released by a N.C. Department of Public Instruction engineer noted that one or more condensate lines are leaking and the steam and condensate piping in the crawlspace are failing.
Five employees replaced heating pipes and added supports to the floor system with approximately 84 feet of 1½-inch black steel piping, approximately 105 feet of 1¼-inch black steel piping, approximately four sheets of treated 4-by-8 plywood, approximately 12 pieces of 2-by-6-by-12 lumber, approximately four pieces of 4-by-6-by-12 lumber and nine floor jacks, according to Hedrick.
In an email, Hedrick wrote that maintenance installed a fan to circulate air through the crawl space under and keep the area dry.
A July report from JDA Engineers photographed the closure of the foundation vents around the building. There was no cross-ventilation in the crawl space with the vents closed, according to JDA Engineer’s report.
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