Specialist Finds Mold Growth, Dampness at School

Concerned parents of Edgewater Elementary students packed the cafeteria and were unsettled by the lack of findings and easy fixes proposed.

The industrial hygienist who investigated spoke Tuesday night to a full of concerned parents.

, told the crowd his main concerns with the school focused on “small mold growth and dampness" and that the problems could be fixed quickly and easily. He did not identify the situation as a "hazard," but said students with "sensitive immune systems" were more likely to experience agitation in the school's environment.

“We have found that the dampness and the mold in the crawl space is a concern. That is our only identified health problem,” Light said. “We’re completing work within the next week to have very specific and easy recommendations to completely eliminate the dampness and the mold in the building.” 

Light said he inspected “,” and conducted around 50 interviews with parents and staff members. He identified issues like high humidity, steam leaks and standing water—all of which he said require relatively simple fixes.

As the night continued, many parents became unsettled by what they claimed to be a “lack of findings.”

“The story seems too good to be true,” parent Gary Fritter said. “The school is so degradable. The patches they have to fix these problems—it won’t get the job done.”

Many parents echoed Fritter’s words after the meeting, including PTA president Jenny Corkill.

“Clearly our children’s health and safety needs must be met today,” Corkill said. “Fix what you can today but put us down in the feasibility study.”

Edgewater Elementary was initially built in the 1950s. Despite renovations since then, its age and type of [heating and cooling] equipment are extra barriers in providing an atmosphere for learning, Light said.

“This is an older system. It can’t do what a brand new system would do [in terms of ventilation],” Light said.

Light said work is already underway to fix key findings from his assessment, including steam leaks and a roof drainpipe break. He couldn’t give an approximate date, but Light did said it will be a few weeks before he can declare his final recommendations for the school.

One unhappy parent felt like the school board isn't doing enough to acknowledge parents' concerns. The child of that same parent is reportedly going to a different school due to the building's health concerns, despite living within walking distance.

When asked if she thought parents left the meeting satisfied or happy, Corkill said, “No.” 

Donna Cunningham February 02, 2012 at 04:13 AM
I attended the meeting last night with my sister, niece and many friends that have kids there. My grandson who I raise attends this school. I vowed to care for him and keep him safe when I got permanent custody. My heart aches to think I am sending him to a school that may be hurting him. If not now, in the future. I raised my hand all night and never got called on. That's okay because so many others said close to what I wanted to say. I wanted to say that, 'these kids are just in kindergarten to 5th grade. Because they are so young, we don't know what underlying conditions they may have. We have no idea if their immune systems are low for some of them yet. Will the Board of Ed care if only one child gets a fatal illness from the conditions in the school? Will it take that for them to upgrade and renovate this 60 year old school? The 'Facilities' woman from AAco and the 'specialist' danced around the real concerns of us. It felt to me they think they can put a 'band aid' over areas instead of renovating and we should just accept that. I can tell you, you have only angered more parents. For those that did not attend last night, they will certainly attend the next meeting. Our numbers will double and we won't stop till you do what's right. Do our children not count to you? I can tell you these parents are not going to settle on your 'external specialists' fixes. He did say he has inspected 100's of our schools, didn't he? Sounds like he is more of an 'associate'. Not over!
Gary Fritter February 09, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Hello Everyone, If you would like to sign the petition for Edgewater Elementary School (EES), please use the link below. If you think you know someone that might also be interested in standing with us, please share the link with them via email, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Google +. http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-martin-omalleyjohn-leopoldkevin-maxwellpatricia-nalley-a-feasibility-study-in-2013-funding-for-ees-new-school-construction.
Rita February 10, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Why doesn't the Edgewater PTA pay for their own independent assessment if they are not satisfied with the one the county provided?
Mark Richards November 14, 2012 at 09:31 AM
Would the parents be happier if the school board decided to hire an external mold removal specialist instead of the simple patches? In a way, the specialist should know what is best for the school. Mold infection can be very serious to kids with weaker immune systems, so they better not take the situation too lightly. - http://www.canadarestorationservices.com
Lavar Blake January 17, 2013 at 07:46 PM
The Edgewater PTA should definitely pay for their own independent assessment. I think it would 1) answer many questions 2) relieve many fears and 3) create a competent and accurate course of action. - http://mould-solutions.com


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