Tests clear portable classrooms

Gilroy
– Air quality tests on Brownell Academy portables found that
indoor mold levels were not amplified and did not require
remediation. The tests were conducted after physical education
teacher Pat Vickroy came down with respiratory problems he linked
with working in his office at the school.
Gilroy – Air quality tests on Brownell Academy portables found that indoor mold levels were not amplified and did not require remediation. The tests were conducted after physical education teacher Pat Vickroy came down with respiratory problems he linked with working in his office at the school.

“This is good news,” said Steve Brinkman, assistant superintendent in charge of facilities. “We attacked all of the rooms that had a Priority 1 ranking from 2002.”

In 2002, the district performed air quality testing on the former Jordan Elementary School portables located on Brownell’s campus. Six buildings were given a Priority 1 ranking, meaning they likely required some form of remediation.

Currently, 331 students and nine staff members enter the Priority 1 portables each day.

Vickroy was removed from his office in January after Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Linda Piceno visited the room and saw its condition.

According to Brinkman, remediations such as air conditioning repairs and replacing boards and broken windows occurred from 2002 to 2004.

A work order from the maintenance department dated Jan. 13, 2005, showed there had been remediations performed in Vickroy’s office.

Prior to a baseline test Vickroy requested in January to discover which mold types he was exposed to, an unauthorized cleaning of his office was ordered by the district’s maintenance and operations manager Jeff Gopp.

In photographs Vickroy snapped in December, mold was growing on the carpet, ceiling and on surfaces such as a broom handle.

No cleanings of the Jordan portables occurred prior to the May 12, 13 and 16 baseline tests, Brinkman said.

“It’s pretty conclusive that there’s not a problem,” said Bryan Buller, chief operations officer at Benchmark Environmental Engineering, the company hired to conduct the tests.

Brinkman ordered a baseline mold investigation and requested Benchmark to provide a protocol for remediation if it was needed.

Several different control samples were taken over several days to get a good reading for outdoor mold figures, Buller explained.

Benchmark used two different testing methods including a culture method and a standard spore trap to determine the airborne activity.

A visual inspection of accessible areas, and measuring of humidity levels and temperature samples was taken as well.

“The indoor results clearly indicated that they did not exceed the outside samples,” Buller said.

Analysis of mold spore counts are a comparison process, he explained.

There are more than 300,000 species of mold humans all displaying sensitivity levels to some at varying levels of exposure. This makes it almost impossible to set a standard rate to determine how much exposure is too much.

However, a rule of thumb used throughout the field is that indoor spore counts should be lower than outdoor counts.

“In every case the interior air quality was superior to the exterior,” Brinkman said. “With every reading I don’t know how you could do much better.”

According to the Benchmark findings, neither the total spore trap nor the culturable air samples demonstrated amplified airborne mold levels. No evidence of water related damage was found and humidity levels appeared normal.

“There were no conditions observed which may be conducive to mold growth upon surfaces within the interior,” the report read. “The results of the samples and visual evidence do not suggest the need for mold remediation or corrective efforts at this time.”

The campus will receive seven new portables and demolish four of the former Jordan portables this summer, Brinkman said.

“The county ones (facing third street) are going to be utilized one more year pending a foreplex the county is going to fund,” he said.

The remainder of the Jordan portables will be unoccupied.

Leave your comments