Decision: Moldy modulars must move

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To the relief of the nearly 30 parents and staff members who attended Tuesday's school board meeting, the trustees voted to remove modulars infested with toxic mold at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School.

"It's too expensive to remove mold from the buildings and remove it in a way that it will not return," said Mike Mitchell, the school district's director of operations. "The cost to do that would be more than it would be to buy new portables."

Removing the mold-infested modulars, however, is just the first step in solving the problem. The district now faces the decision of how to replace them.

The most costly -- but preferred -- option would be to tear down the five modular buildings infected with the mold and build a permanent addition to the Bordewich building.

It would cost about $3.5 million.

Teachers argued that the current eight-building campus layout is inconvenient and dangerous. Supporters urged community members to join the effort.

"This is a decision much larger than this school," said Kay Scherer, parent and officer of the school's parent-teacher association. "We are all responsible for each other in this community."

Mitchell said the little used Gleason Complex on Musser Street could be sold as well as a parcel of land on Highway 50. He estimated that the two properties could generate between $250,000 and $400,000.

If the Gleason Complex were sold, Mitchell said the programs housed there could be moved to the Bray building and Bordewich-Bray would become Bordewich Elementary School, contained in a single building.

The modulars could also be replaced, costing the district about $750,000.

Mitchell is hoping to sell the moldy modulars, possibly to be used for storage purposes.

Three forms of toxic mold were discovered in November within eight to 10 walls of modular classrooms on the school's campus.

However, the air within the classrooms tested clean.

The five portable classrooms -- making up 14,000 square feet -- were made permanent but no foundation was laid first, which allows ground water to seep into the wooden walls and floor. Water also leaks through the flat roofs.

Mold is measured by the amount of spores per cubic meter -- with 2,000 spores per cubic meter considered dangerous. Within the classrooms, 80 spores per cubic meter were detected and outside, 111 were detected.

Within the walls, up to 148,000 spores per meter were discovered.

The air in the classrooms tested clean.

Crews from First General Services of Northern Nevada opened the walls and removed the mold during the winter break in December.

The three types of mold detected were Cladosporium, Penicillium-Aspergillus and Stachybotrys.

The mold has been known to cause symptoms ranging from coughing and watery eyes to diarrhea and short-term memory loss.


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