BISD reports progress at moldy school buildings - Brownsville Herald: Education

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BISD reports progress at moldy school buildings

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Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2001 12:00 am

By MEL HUFF

The Brownsville Herald

Bob Johnson, the project manager of Assured Indoor Air Quality, told

Brownsville Independent School Board trustees Tuesday that the company could

have test results of air samples at Aiken Elementary School and Besteiro

Middle School by Christmas.

Johnson also made a report to the board on the progress of mold removal in the

Besteiro library and an adjacent computer room.

Assured Indoor Air Quality has been removing the mold that appeared over the

summer in those areas.

Meanwhile, a group of parents whose children attend Aiken, which shares the

library and kitchen with Besteiro, has alleged that mold is also contaminating

the elementary school.

Board member Hugh Emerson Jr. questioned Johnson about when conclusions would

be available about the air quality in areas outside the two rooms.

One of the things that has to be done is that the air samples, once they are

collected, have to be incubated. We are very thorough, Johnson said, and

accurate. You want to think about speed, but you always have to bear in mind

that accuracy is the most important thing.

The contract that the company is currently working under limits its work to

the Besteiro library and computer room. Later in the meeting, the board

approved a recommendation to contract with Assured Indoor Air Quality to

inspect and investigate the areas beyond those rooms.

Superintendent Noe Sauceda said he had recently met with Valley Interfaith and

told the members that they could select an expert of their own choosing to

shadow Assured Indoor Air Quality technicians when they do the tests at

Besteiro and Aiken.

During the public audience, Orlando Trevio, charged that his six-year-old

daughter, who attends Aiken, has been breathing carbon monoxide as well as

mold.

Board member Pat Lehmann observed that the Texas Department of Health study

Trevio based his remarks on cited high levels of carbon dioxide, not carbon

monoxide, at Aiken.

Carbon dioxide is the product that people exhale after breathing in air and

using its oxygen. Carbon dioxide, unlike carbon monoxide, is not a poison.

Carbon monoxide is a product of automobile engine combustion.

Johnson told board members that 23,000 books from the Besteiro library have

been cleaned. Now, about 5,000 will be sampled to see if they are mold-free.

So far, about half have been tested. A microbiologist is monitoring the

testing, he said.

The air in the library space was found to be clear of mold, Johnson said.

Rebuilding is now scheduled to start in areas where materials, such as ceiling

tiles, were removed and destroyed.

An architect is arriving today to determine how to accommodate air

conditioning equipment to be installed on the roof, Johnson said.

He commended the district for making a commitment to send several members of

the maintenance department to a three-day training on indoor air quality.

Its refreshing to see people who take a pro-active stance and dont try to

bury their head in the sand and just hope the problems will go away, Johnson

said.

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