Woodbury to close this weekend for mold abatement
The Woodbury Arts and Sciences building will be closed and evacuated throughout the weekend for mold abatement; earlier this month, a mold source was discovered inside the building.
The 120-year-old, four-story building is home to the College of Arts and Sciences Advising Resource Center and East Asian languages and civilizations department, as well as other arts and humanities offices. Woodbury is expected to open again on Monday, Oct. 16.
“A variety of mold that typically occurs with moisture, called stachybotrys, was found in the building,” said the director of CU Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Lou Mitchell.
According to Mitchell, the mold is a result of a water leak in the mechanical system, which saturated a wall of a file room on the first floor of Woodbury.
Information provided by Wardenburg said there are several different categories of health effects from mold exposure. The first two categories are irritant effects, such as runny nose, headache, sinus congestion and allergic reactions. Both are easily treated.
Roughly 15 faculty members who work in Woodbury went to Wardenburg Health Center within the past week with such symptoms as watery, itchy eyes, runny nose and sore throat.
“We’ve mostly seen people with mild allergy related symptoms,” said Dr. Martha Johns, director of Clinical Outreach Services at Wardenburg. “We don’t want people to get panicked. It’s not going to be a significant issue in the future, and if they aren’t having symptoms now they are going to be fine.”
In addition to the original source of mold found, a second source was discovered in the basement of Woodbury when crews started investigating the source of water on the first floor.
The process of abating the mold began earlier than expected Friday morning, and Mitchell believes that they will allow the building to be occupied by Monday.
“The procedure will involve creating enclosures around all the mold growth to allow abatement and then testing to ensure its safe removal,” Mitchell said. “All areas of the building will be examined to ensure there are no wet materials or additional water leaks.”
Excell Environmental of Aurora and Herron Enterprises were hired to carry out the abatement process. Even though Woodbury was closed Friday, Eaton Humanities remained open.
“We did a quick review in Humanities; we had a few suspect cases that have to date shown to be negative and we are still following up to ensure we don’t have water leaks that can become problematic,” Mitchell said.
According to Mitchell, the age of Woodbury plays a role in mold growth “because there are a lot of old spores, and when there is a water leak, they start growing.”
The mold found in Woodbury raises concern that other old buildings on campus are at risk as well.
“There is a risk, and we are using what we’ve learned in Woodbury to tighten our procedures to ensure that water leaks are quickly responded to,” Mitchell said.
While the age of Woodbury contributed to the mold growth, Mitchell pointed out that it can happen in any building.
“I see mold growth in brand new buildings; all you need is that water,” Mitchell said.