Parents of West Elementary School students are invited to a meeting Wednesday, Feb. 19, to discuss the school district’s plan for evacuating the school after the discovery of hazardous levels of mold in the school’s library and a tunnel.
The meeting is set for 5 p.m. in the school’s gym.
The date of evacuation and its duration and the temporary location for the school have not been announced. Last week, Jody Thompson, associate superintendent of elementary education, said he planned to announce the new location at this week’s meeting with West parents.
The mold issue at West came to light after results of an inspection were provided Feb. 3 to the school district by a certified mold inspection company, Nordic Home Inspection, based in Fargo.
Ten “air tests” were done throughout the building and three “lift tests” were conducted to measure mold levels, Chris Arnold, director of buildings and grounds for Grand Forks Public Schools, said. The lift tests revealed “extremely high levels of mold,” he said.
The areas with high levels of mold were closed off Feb. 12, Arnold said.
The Grand Forks School Board held a special meeting Feb. 12 to declare a state of emergency which allows the school district to contract for work on the remediation project without going through the bidding process.
The mold is the result of last fall’s excessive rains, said Superintendent Terry Brenner at the School Board’s special meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
In the aftermath of the extraordinary rainfalls, the school district’s buildings and grounds crews worked “24/7 shifts, water-vacuuming” in the affected schools, Brenner said at that meeting.
For a new location for West School, school district administrators considered a list of 10 local sites, including churches, which was later narrowed to three sites where visits were conducted, Thompson said.
Under the evacuation plan, about 130 students, staff members and children in an early childhood special education program will be relocated, he said.