Mold found in Schneider

Jessica Sasseen

It was Sarah Davasher’s silent roommate.

Davasher, a Holland junior, saw it in August, growing on the window seal. As the spots of green fuzz multiplied, Davasher kept a watchful eye, but she wasn’t too worried. She was more concerned about the black mold growing on the sagging, damp ceiling tiles in her bathroom.

She and roommate Kate Dittmeier, a sophomore from Jeffersonville, Ind., moved out of Schneider Hall this weekend because of mold in their bathroom.

This is the second case of mold this year that has forced the dorm to close rooms. A total of six students have moved.

University Relations Director Bob Skipper said most of the mold problems in Schneider are caused by old pipes in the building.

Schneider is the only dorm not owned by the Student Life Foundation. The 74-year-old building is heated by steam and does not have a building-wide ventilation system.

“It’s a two-edge sword really,” Skipper said. “It’s not spreading [mold spores] to the rest of the building, but at the same time, you don’t have the ventilation that might help with some of the moisture issues as well.”

Davasher originally reported the sagging ceiling in August. Her claim was not addressed, and over the semester the mold continued to grow.

She filed another report after Christmas when sheet rock started falling into the tub. Her report was answered promptly.

Davasher said the sagging part of the ceiling was cut out, revealing black mold covering the inside of the ceiling. Pipes from the bathroom above caused the water leak.

Tests have been ordered by Environmental Health and Safety, and testing will begin as soon as the kits arrive. Air samples from outside air, molded rooms and non-molded rooms in Schneider will be taken and compared, said Kit Tolbert, director of Housing Operations.

Testing will determine if there is an unacceptable amount of mold present.

Scottsville junior Laura Taylor and Hardinsburg sophomore Renee Howard moved from their fourth floor room in Schneider in November. Their suite mates, Cecilia sophomores Michelle and Danielle Fogle, moved earlier this semester.

The students complained about moldy smelling clothes and carpet as a result of the excess moisture. All the claims have been handled, Skipper said.

Davasher has had lingering health problems but is hesitant to blame the mold.

Both Tolbert and Skipper said they are uncertain about the future of the dorm.

“We’re kind of in limbo right now until we get the testing done,” Tolbert said. “Once the testing is done, it will be 14 to 16 days to find the results, and then we’ll take it from there.”

Reach Jessica Sasseen at [email protected]