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Mold Problems Force NCCU Faculty, Students Out Of Biology Building

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DURHAM, N.C. — Officials say the Lee Biology Building at North Carolina Central University is a biohazard. Leaking steam from the heating system and roof problems cultivated serious mold. To clean up the mold, environmental crews must rip out the asbestos in the 55-year-old building, so students and faculty were forced out.

Dr. Sandra White, chairwoman of the biology department, said she had to shuffle everyone to any available classrooms and office space on campus.

"It happened. We dealt with it," White said. "You worry if there's something, some class you've scheduled in a room where there's someone else. Everything just went very fluid."

N.C. Central has become notorious for old crumbling dorms and academic buildings with no money to make repairs. State bond approval targeted $120 million for renovation and new construction at the university. A new science complex is also slated to open, but the biology building was not on the bond list, so mold presents a costly dilemma.

"We had to do something to try and save it, so we made the decision, 'Let's get everyone out and let's get contractors in here and let's address the problem,'" said Mike Logan, of the university's health and safety department.

Right now, the estimated cost for the cleanup is hovering around $500,000, but it could be higher. School administrators are now scrambling to find funding sources. They hope to have the biology building open again by the fall.


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