Rebuilt school in Henryville, Ind. fighting mold problem
On Friday, school officials spotlighted the problem and explained their plan to fix it.
HENRYVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Four years after a tornado destroyed much of the Henryville school, the rebuilt campus has mold.
Lindsay Draper stopped by Henryville Elementary Friday to talk to her daughter's teacher.
"I just couldn't believe it," Draper said. "When they said mold, I didn't think I would be able to walk in and visibly see mold growing."
Draper was there to speak to the staff about math, but instead she was the one who ending up counting -- specifically counting the holes in classroom ceilings.
"You've got to fix it," Draper said. "You've got kids in there with asthma and allergies."
"Basically our HVAC system is creating too much condensation in some of our classrooms," said West Clark Schools Assistant Superintendent Tom Brillhart.
Dehumidifiers roared on campus Friday as custodians cleaned up the mess. In fact the holes that Draper saw were once stained ceiling tiles.
The district confirms mold in at least three classrooms, with six others being tested. Despite passing air quality standards, some kids have been moved to other rooms.
"I know there are some concerns out there, but those concerns need to be met with a notion that all measures are being taken," said Brillhart. "We're no less safe today than we were yesterday, or the days before."
Put simply, the pipes are sweating. Warmer outside air hits the cooler ventilation system in the ceiling, and drives up the humidity. Puddles could be seen forming in the light fixtures.
HVAC crews worked all day on campus, looking to make adjustment to the system to find a permanent solution.
"We think it's a combination of negative pressure, and also some of the adjustments that we haven't conducted with our HVAC system," said Brillhart.
The lingering question from Draper and many others is this: Did a five-month rebuild after that massive tornado leave hidden problems behind?
"This school was fixed where it was damaged," said Draper. "It wasn't like we got a brand new school."
"I don't know the answer yet," said Dave Hellman of Alpha Energy Solutions. "We are looking through the build construction documents. I haven't seen anything yet."
The school hopes the small adjustments it's making, like keeping lights on, closing doors, and mechanically altering the HVAC system, will fix this problem.
We're told the Indiana Department of Health is coming in next week for another air quality test.
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