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Mold closes Andrew Jackson Middle band room

Andrew Jackson Middle’s band room closed earlier this week after someone spotted mold on an instrument case, Terry Hollandsworth said. Hollandsworth, the Kanawha County public school system’s maintenance director, said Wednesday that he didn’t know when the band room, where the students’ instruments are located, will reopen, but he believes all the instruments will be salvageable.

Andrew Jackson Middle School’s band room was closed — with students’ instruments inside — earlier this week after someone spotted mold on an instrument case, according to the Kanawha County public school system’s maintenance director.

Terry Hollandsworth said that Belfor Property Restoration, the company that’s been working on the county’s separate flood-affected schools this summer, was cleaning the band room and the instruments Wednesday afternoon. He said the instruments should all be salvageable, but said he didn’t know when the room would reopen.

“It’s just the humidity,” he said when asked about the cause of the mold.

Hollandsworth said he doesn’t know of any air conditioning problems at the Cross Lanes school. AC issues have closed multiple Kanawha public schools this school year, including about a tenth of the county’s 68 public schools in one day.

He said Andrew Jackson’s ventilation system is new and didn’t know of any roof leaks.

He said air sampling is planned for Friday, and though Belfor is currently cleaning only the band room because it’s the only place visible mold has been found, the cleaning could expand if the sampling detects issues in other areas of the school.

Andrew Jackson Principal Rhonda Donohoe didn’t return a call for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Among the unusual number of public complaints at a Kanawha school board meeting in mid-August were concerns about the continuing AC issues at multiple schools and the mold issues at St. Albans High. Hollandsworth said Wednesday the school system is still trying to solve mold concerns there.

At that meeting, Hollandsworth said Teays Valley-based Pinnacle Environmental conducted air sampling at the high school after administrators there reported visible mold, and Belfor cleaned the freshman wing and library before classes began Aug. 8. He said more sampling was then done.

But after school started, more visible mold was reported on a St. Albans band instrument case and another piece of equipment in the school’s band room, and Belfor did more cleaning. He said air sampling results came in the week of the board meeting, showing the building as a whole had considerably lower mold levels than outside but had some places that still needed more cleaning, so Belfor would be coming in to clean again that weekend.

On Wednesday, he said Belfor did clean the school that weekend, but it came in again this past weekend to clean the library, rooms adjacent to the library and a hallway. Following testing this Sunday, the hallway still had elevated levels of mold, he said.

Hollandsworth said that once it’s determined where the hallway issue is coming from, there will be more cleaning.

Both schools have had previous mold issues. Mold accumulated on books in the St. Albans High library in 2010, and in 2008, Andrew Jackson parents said students and staff were suffering from headaches, coughing and other breathing problems when they were at the school, and disagreed with school and environmental officials who said tests indicated the air was safe.

Reach Ryan Quinn at ryan.quinn@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1254, facebook.com/ryanedwinquinn or follow @RyanEQuinn on Twitter.