Illinois Mold Gives It the Old College Try

Illinois Mold Gives It the Old College Try

  • Posted: Aug 31, 2015
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When students returned to Eastern Illinois University recently, one old friend wasn’t there to greet them.

Over the summer, Housing and Dining Services remediated a long-standing Illinois mold problem in Douglas Residence Hall. Mold had crept into the walls, furniture, carpet, and ventilation shafts throughout the past year.

Mark Hudson, Director of Housing and Dining Services at EIU in Charleston, suspects the issue stemmed from the university’s transition to a chilled water system, which drops the temperature of cold water in each building for more efficient overall cooling. Sure, the change added air conditioning, but it also added a larger discrepancy between the temperature of the cold air the system was emitting and the temperature of the unregulated, unconditioned air inside and outside the building. This disparity led to condensation, moisture, and ultimately mold growth.

Students’ absence over the summer only accelerated the issue. Without bodies opening doors and going in and out of the building, air flow became stagnant. This lack of air exchange harbored the perfect storm for Illinois mold growth.

Hudson says his team of building service workers sealed around vents to prevent the mold from coming back after the remediation. They also placed several dehumidifiers on each floor to better control the moisture in the air.

Hudson also acknowledged that mold spores are everywhere, and it’s difficult to eliminate mold permanently, especially when it’s been in the wood and in the carpet. He says he and his team will remain vigilant and catch the mold earlier should it ever return.

Several football players who arrived early for camp stayed in the building and did not see any mold. Hudson remains optimistic that once students return, air movement throughout the building will increase and cool temperatures in the building, thereby rendering the mold problem nonexistent.

The residence hall has been deemed safe and clean for returning students.

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