Brandywine Heights School Board reviewed options to address the mold spores in carpets at Brandywine Elementary.
Superintendent Andrew Potteiger reported to the School Board that the mold appeared on the Elementary School carpets during the normal summer cleaning process and an air quality test revealed elevated mold spore counts in the carpets. After about $82,000 worth of cleaning and testing, as well as the use of dehumidifiers, Potteiger said that according to their expert consultant, there was nothing left to do but remove the carpets.
The School Board unanimously approved the removal of the carpets and replace them with an alternative flooring, possibly tile or another flooring such as an epoxy floor coating.
“We’ll be looking for experts to give us the best direction to go with this,” said Potteiger, explaining they are trying to balance between what’s best for the long term solution for the school and yet cost effective.
Numerous parents at the meeting thanked the board and administration for addressing the mold issue and for being so straight forward with providing information.
“It’s actually an old problem but getting rid of the carpet is definitely the first direction to cure it for the future,” said Mike Sacks, parent, thanking the board for addressing the mold. Sacks said he experienced problems with mold in that building years ago. “It’s hard for kids to concentrate if they have a breathing problem.”
Funds will be withdrawn from a $200,000 Budgetary Reserve to cover the costs of the cleaning and testing so far and cover the remaining costs to remove and replace the flooring.
“We have a $200,000 Budgetary Reserve for emergency situations like this,” said Potteiger.
A parent in the audience asked if any of that Reserve money could be used toward installing air conditioning, which could potentially prevent humidity from providing the perfect conditions for mold growth.
“We’ll be using up all of our emergency money in just putting flooring in, cleaning and etc.,” said board chair John Sheetz. “We’ll be tightening our belts this year. We need to make this happen.”
Elementary classes were moved to the Middle and Intermediate School. The first day of school for BHES students was Sept. 3, a week after the rest of the district. Elementary students will remain at the Middle/Intermediate building throughout the duration of the carpet removal and flooring replacement. The Elementary School building remains closed.