KATC Investigates

Sep 10, 2013 6:31 PM by Chris Welty

Mold Issues Ongoing Problem in Schools

Mold issues in Lafayette Parish Schools continue to be an ongoing battle.

In total, nearly 200 mold complaints have been filed in Lafayette Parish Schools over the past three years. As of last week, all have been taken care of except ten.

This school year, pre-k students at J. W. Faulk Elementary started late because of mold infested classrooms. A KATC investigation shows Faulk filed more work orders than any other school. In every case, mold was cleaned, but it does remain an issue on campuses.

The Lafayette Parish School System is constantly working to clean mold from its buildings. Over the last three years, the schools with the top mold complaints are L. J. Alleman Middle School with 23 complaints, Lafayette High School with 14 and J. W. Faulk Elementary & Scott Middle Schools with 11 each.

See a breakdown of mold complaints by school and year by clicking here.

"You have to be ever vigilant to make sure it's addressed," said Lafayette Parish School System Risk Management Director Mona Bernard.

These schools were all built in the 1950's and share a common design issue flaw. The combination of air conditioned classrooms and warm hallways let humidity build up.

"Sometimes it's a leaky pipe, sometimes it's high humidity, we discover the air conditioning unit isn't working properly so we'll fix it," said Bernard.

Though mold is cleaned up, the issue is re-occurring in the same spots. One example is Scott Middle School. In work orders obtained by KATC, a not in September 2010 says, "The 7th grade building was cleaned up over the weekend for mold in the ceiling tiles. By Monday, the tiles that were changed were wet again and the smell of mold was just as strong as it was before the cleanup."

Bernard says, "It's imperative we find the source so we can keep it from coming back. If it's questionable, we will also do some air quality sampling to check for elevated spores."

If students have to be moved on campus to clean infested areas, parents are notified. Bernard could not tell us exactly how much the district spends annually on cleaning and testing for mold.

This school year, there have been 10 mold complaints in the district and all but three have been cleaned.

Over the past three years, the number one mold issue area is the classroom.

Chris Welty



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