A malfunction with part of the air conditioning system at Jacksonville High School over the summer caused an outbreak of mold in one small portion of the school which has since been cleaned up.
At last night’s Jacksonville School District 117 meeting, a district parent and fine arts booster member, Kimberly Oberg, informed the board of the news that some batches of mold were discovered in the performance wing of Jacksonville High School. The performance wing of the high school is used for things such as music classes as well as a practice area for the school’s band and choir.
Distsrict 117 superintendent Steve Ptacek first explains how the mold outbreak was initially discovered, and discusses why the outbreak occurred.
“We had a valve in our air conditioning unit that malfunctioned over the summer. It was the absolute worst time it could have happened because out crews that handle these issues were working on the South School and the early years center. It went a couple weeks without being noticed, and with no air conditioning and all the humidity built up in that time, there was mold that flourished in the performance wing. It built up on many of the instruments and uniforms, in the carpets, and on the curtains in the auditorium.”
Superintendent Ptacek says they’ve since brought in professionals to help ensure that the area is clean and safe for students.
“We’ve brought professional cleaners to take care of all the non-removable things in the school. The band and choir uniforms have all been sent for professional cleaning, and new band uniforms are also scheduled to be bought in the near future. The carpet in the band and choir rooms has been torn out and will be replaced with tile. We fixed the A/C unit, and have been getting tests done. At this time, these areas are not showing any mold in the tests. The issue is that the current A/C unit in that section of the school is too powerful. ”
Ptacek says that the district is currently looking at different ways to resolve the issue, as well as prevent any similar instances in the future.
“We’re going to be putting tile down on the band and choir room floors and sound dampening walls to help handle that. time is clear. What’s happening is that the system is cooling the area too quickly, which doesn’t allow the humidity to be completely removed from the area. We’re working with our engineers to decide if we can throttle the system down a little to solve the problem, or the worst case scenario is the need for a completely brand new system. The mold tests, at this time, are clear and testing negative for mold.”
JHS students are getting ready to wrap up their official first week of school for the 2018-2019 school year, as the first day of school was on Monday.