Air Quality Updates
A Message for Parents & Guardians
Dear Parents and Guardians,
On November 7, 2018, WKU announced the decision to temporarily close Minton Hall and temporarily relocate students to another housing assignment on campus. Our first and foremost concern is the health and well-being of our students. Mold growth has continued to be discovered and reported in Minton Hall. While the test results from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety have shown that the mold spores are common environmental mold, out of an abundance of caution, WKU Housing & Residence Life has determined that it is in the best interest of Minton residents to perform thorough maintenance and cleaning in every living space and all mechanical spaces. We recognize that the continual maintenance and cleaning has inconvenienced our students. Due to the unique configuration of the building and in-depth nature of the work that must be performed, it is necessary to close the building through winter break. Students will have the option to move back into Minton Hall beginning Friday, January 18, 2019.
We have been able to assign all affected students to unoccupied spaces in residence halls across campus. Students without roommates who did not declare private rooms were given the opportunity to sign a “move-in ready” agreement, allowing them to continue living in the space without paying the private rate with the understanding that they could receive a roommate at any time and were expected to keep their room ready for a roommate to move in with 24-hour notice. These students received notifications on the morning of Wednesday, November 7, 2018. All spaces have been inspected by our staff and are ready for students to move in. Assignments were made as logically as possible, keeping current floor residents as close together as space allowed. Students with ADA accommodations were reassigned to rooms meeting their needs.
During the week of October 8, 2018, maintenance crews worked room by room to disassemble, clean and repair all HVAC units in Bemis Lawrence, Barnes Campbell, and Pearce Ford Tower. A cleaning team revisited each room 48 hours after the initial maintenance to clean any remaining residue from university property. An HRL staff member accompanied the cleaning team to address any student concerns. Disinfectant wipes were distributed to each room for residents to clean their personal property. Upgraded air filters with higher filtration levels were installed and are changed quarterly. Free laundry was provided for the month of October for those residents to wash all clothing and bedding.
Reports of mold in other residence halls have been isolated. Rooms reporting an issue were addressed as those reports were received. All residence halls have been evaluated and tested by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety. All test results have shown that the mold spores are common environmental mold and are not toxic. Other residence halls are not being closed at this time because the configuration of these buildings allows easier access to maintenance crews to address the issues. The unique mechanical structures within Minton Hall will require us to remove the ceilings to appropriately remediate the building. Therefore, the building must be unoccupied.
WKU is providing the following accommodations and support for students affected by the building closure:
Instructors for Minton Hall residents have been notified of this disruption in their schedule and have been asked to consider academic accommodations during this period.
WKU HRL is providing volunteers, trucks, dollies, boxes, and tape.
Dumpsters will be available for any unwanted items and trash.
Free laundry will be provided in all residence halls for the remainder of the semester. Minton residents are required to wash all clothing and bedding immediately before or after moving to ensure that spores are not relocated to their new living space.
Excessive moisture, both inside and outside, is a contributing factor to the presence of mold. Some steps your students can take to reduce moisture in their room are:
·Keep room temperature set at a regular, moderate temperature to keep moisture levels low. The temperature on each room air unit can be set by using the thermostat under the cover plate that flips open. It is not recommended to fluctuate between extreme temperatures or to regularly turn the unit on/off.
Keep windows closed. Opening windows introduces more moisture into the room, again providing a good environment for mold to grow.
Wipe up excess moisture. Dropping temperatures squeeze moisture from the air, causing condensation, or drops of water, to form on surfaces such as windows and desktops. Cleaning these areas with a dry cloth removes the moisture.
Keep the area in front of air unit open. HVAC systems are designed to remove moisture from the air during the cooling season, but blocking the unit with furniture, clothing, etc., prevents the air from circulating and the unit from doing its job.
Frequently clean room and wipe down air unit with disinfectant wipes. The buildup of dust can contribute to allergens in the air and can cause issues with the air unit.
Questions and Future Updates
If you or your student have questions, please reply to this email or call WKU Housing & Residence Life at (270)745-3143 or by email. We will continue to update you through email as additional information becomes available.
If your student believes there is an issue in their residence hall room, please instruct them to visit their front desk or contact WKU Housing & Residence Life at 270-745-3143 in addition to completing a maintenance request at www.wku.edu/housing/maintenance or by texting “WKUDFM” to 82257.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and support as we take this necessary action to provide a premiere living-learning environment. All of our actions have been guided by the values of health, safety, academic progress, and transparency. We will continue to support each student as they pursue their academic goals. We hope that this action will end the disruption, and knowing the strength of the Hilltopper Spirit our students will rise to the challenge and we will do everything in our power to assist and support them.
- WKU Housing & Residence Life