NCCU Works To Resolve Costly Mold Problem
Posted August 17, 2003 2:04 a.m. EDT
DURHAM, N.C. — North Carolina Central University is looking for black mold in every building on its campus after three dorms have been shut down for health reasons.
The damage extends beyond the buildings, to the books and the university's budget.
Instead of helping students settle in, resident assistants have been posting signs telling them to stay out. Buildings 1 and 2, built just four years ago, will be closed as long as crews make repairs and remove mold.
More than 500 students who were supposed to move in are headed for hotels instead.
"It was a shock because it is so new," student Kadrian Wynn said. "Just think if they had not caught the problem. My life would be in danger, and so would so many others that live here."
A faulty steam system also bred black mold at the Shepard Library and in the main Chidley Dormitory, which will be shut down for good.
But the most serious problems are in the new dorms, where crews also found faulty plumbing and air conditioning systems that will take months to repair.
"It was a shock to find it in this building and now to find it at this particular level," said Mike Logan of the NCCU Health and Safety Department.
It may be a shock for administrators. But it is not surprising to students who live in the dorms.
"I wasn't too surprised," student Jason Moore said. "By looking at the building, there is a bad steam problem. It could have all been prevented if the correct stuff was done. But they patched it up too much."
The mold that was found in the library is a bigger threat to the books than the people who read them. There are 850,000 volumes in the library, dating back to the 1750's.
Librarians will have to flip through each book, deciding which to replace and which have to be cleaned page by page.
The University of North Carolina system will allow N.C. Central to use $10 million bond funding for repairs. Officials don't know if that will cover the tab, or if it is just a fraction of the cost.
N.C. Central's buildings and other state-maintained offices cannot dig out of the budget hole. The big problems started with Hurricane Floyd.
In 2000, $60 million of the $150 million in the state's repair and renovations fund was taken to help Floyd victims. The next year, the fund lost another $40 million to balance the budget.
In 2002, $116 million was taken from the repair fund -- also for the budget.