Air Quality Updates
October 8, 2018
HVAC Units & Room Cleaning | Bemis, Barnes, & PFT
Aggressive efforts to address reports of mold in Barnes Campbell Hall, Bemis Lawrence Hall, and Pearce Ford Tower were made with the following efforts:
- Maintenance crews worked room by room to disassemble, clean, and repair all air units. Each thorough check took an average of one hour to complete.
- 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. Air filters are changed quarterly.
- Free laundry was provided for the month of October. Residents were encouraged to wash all clothing and bedding.
October 8-12, 2018
Reports of Mold & Testing | Minton Hall
WKU HRL and the Department of Facilities Management received several reports of possible mold in rooms at Minton Hall. Maintenance crews evaluated and worked to correct each room that reported an issue. The WKU Environmental Health & Safety office was consulted and investigated the reports. As part of this initial investigation, air samples were taken at different levels in the building. These samples did not indicate a systemic mold problem, but some elevation of common outdoor molds were noted.
October 15-19, 2018
Test Results | Minton Hall
The results were not conclusive; WKU HRL and EHS decided the best course of action was to sample a larger size of approximately 75 spaces within Minton. This sample included rooms where maintenance work had been completed, was ongoing and rooms where no issues were known.
October 22-26, 2018
Test Results & Recommendations | Minton Hall
About 10 rooms had slightly elevated numbers of mold spores, and EHS advised us to inform students in these rooms, as it could affect a person’s health, if they had a pre-existing condition such as asthma, allergy, etc. These students were offered a room change, if desired.
Another 10 rooms had higher elevated numbers. In order for crews to find and address the issue and clean the space, we required those students to move and students were offered as many choices across campus that met their situation. HRL met individually with students who were directly impacted.
The building plan was announced to all Minton residents and free laundry through the month of November began so all students could wash clothing and bedding to help reduce dust and mold buildup.
October 29-November 2, 2018
HVAC Units & Room Cleaning | Minton Hall
In order to ensure that all HVAC units were working correctly and to follow procedures that had been put in place in Bemis, Barnes, and PFT, every HVAC unit was scheduled to be inspected and cleaned. HRL and DFM contracted a maintenance crew to perform the work so WKU maintenance crews could continue to address work orders as they were received. Work began on the 10th floor on Monday, 10/29 and continued through the building until each floor was complete. Since taking apart the units to clean could release dust and any spores into the air, the process also included a full wipe down after 48 hours to ensure that any dust that has settles doesn’t remain in the room.
November 7, 2018
WKU to Temporarily Close Minton Hall, Relocate Residents
Minton residents were informed in a floor meeting and through email that Minton Hall will temporarily close.
The following press release was sent:
For information, contact Bob Skipper at (270) 745-4295.
WKU TO TEMPORARILY CLOSE MINTON HALL, RELOCATE RESIDENTS
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Western Kentucky University will close Minton Hall for the remainder of the fall academic semester and relocate its 348 residents to other on-campus housing in a proactive effort to mitigate mold found in mechanical spaces within the facility.
“Our first and foremost concern is the health and well-being of our students,” said Brian Kuster, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Experience. “Results of our air quality monitoring indicate that the type of mold present in Minton Hall is common mold and poses few health risks, but it can trigger problems in those who are allergic or who have respiratory issues.”
The unique mechanical structures within Minton Hall “will require us to remove the ceilings in order to appropriately remediate the building, and that means that it will have to be unoccupied,” Kuster said.
The work will be completed by a private contractor.
“We know this will be inconvenient for our students, but it is the most prudent and proactive course of action. We will provide all the support necessary to get students relocated and settled quickly,” Kuster said.
Housing and Residence Life staff are notifying residents of their new assignments for the remainder of the semester and will provide moving assistance. HRL will provide move-in dollies and boxes. Staff will be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday to assist with moving students’ belongings to their new rooms.
Minton Hall will close on Nov. 12 and will reopen January 18, 2019. HRL will provide the same assistance to students as they move back in January.
January 16, 2019
WKU News: Minton Hall to remain closed for spring semester
WKU will delay the reopening of Minton Hall until fall 2019.
The residence hall closed on November 12, 2018, when common mold was discovered within the building. Remediation included replacement of all room ceiling tiles, the addition of venting tiles, new air filters, and the repairs and balancing of critical air handling equipment. During an inspection this week, ahead of the planned reopening, WKU staff identified additional work to be completed which expands the scope of the project. These additional items include replacement of porous tiles and possible replacement of windows to mitigate future issues.
“Our goal is to provide the best living and learning experience for our students,” said Brian Kuster, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Experience. “With that in mind, we feel that additional work should be completed before students return to the building. We will use the coming months to ensure that Minton Hall meets WKU’s standard of excellence and provides an optimum living environment where students can thrive.”
WKU Housing and Residence Life will share additional information with affected students and will continue to provide support and assistance. All other residence halls will open as planned for the spring semester at 8 a.m. CST Friday (January 18).