Thursday, August 12, 2004

Mold found in Kings schools

By Michael D. Clark
Enquirer staff writer

DEERFIELD TWP. - The discovery of potentially harmful mold has closed the auditorium at Kings Senior and Junior High School while school officials await test results to see if there is any hazard for students and staff.

Kings officials stressed that the mold, which was caused by increased humidity after carpet-cleaning in the 625-seat auditorium, has not spread to other parts of the building. Classes are still scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Since 2001, the Warren County high school has had two other, smaller incidents of mold infestation, both caused by excessive moisture accumulating in parts of the school off Columbia Road.

In the last three years, mold infestation has led to the temporary closure of parts of school buildings in Princeton, Sycamore, Milford and Lawrenceburg schools.

Kings Superintendent Charles Mason said the district acted quickly after the mold was discovered July 30.

"When we find these things, we have to take them seriously," said Mason. "The auditorium has been closed off and we've had a crew in there cleaning up the mold. We're waiting for the test results after the cleaning, which should be ready in a couple of days."

Mason said the auditorium's ventilation system is not connected to the rest of the senior and junior high school buildings, and that no airborne mold particles spread to other parts of the campus. No estimates are available for the cost of cleaning the mold.

It is the latest in a series of unusual environmental events to hit the schools since August 2003, when toxic lead from an abandoned shooting range was discovered on the school's grounds, football stadium and athletic fields. The subsequent $2 million cleanup - paid for by federal money - left the district without a football stadium and cost the district more than $20,000 in related costs.

In September 2003 a windstorm caused more than $300,000 in damage - mostly to the district's bus fleet - and closed schools for two days.


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