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GIRARD Test results in wake of illness lead to revamping in school



Published: Tue, May 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The testing found mold, fungus and bacteria in the carpeting and a lack of fresh air.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- Carpeting will be removed and the heating and air-conditioning system will be revamped at the intermediate school to try to alleviate mold, fungus and bacteria, which are being blamed for causing students and staff to become ill last month.

The school district closed the school May 1 for the remainder of the school year, and students were rerouted to other buildings for classes.

Clayton Group Services, an Akron-based environmental consultant, conducted testing. The testing found high levels of mold, fungus and bacteria in the carpeting at the school and said the ventilation system is inadequate to bring in sufficient fresh air.

"It confirmed what we suspected," said Superintendent Anthony D'Ambrosio.

Replacement work: At a May 17 meeting, the school board decided to replace the carpeting and ventilation ducts.

"If they contain it and remove it [the carpeting] right way, we'll be happy," said Cathy Ross, president of Girard Concerned Citizens.

James Dobson, assistant city health commissioner, said his department also recommended that the board of education hire an engineer to assess the school's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and get an engineer's opinion to determine the best way to address it.

D'Ambrosio said the school district intends to follow that recommendation.

The health department also recommends that the ventilators be tagged, indicating their last date of service.

Testing goes on: Concerns with the ducts at the school and their fiberglass liners prompted the department to recommend its removal.

Additional testing is being done on the liners, but none of the tests so far has indicated a problem with them.

D'Ambrosio said it will take two weeks for an engineer to make a recommendation on the ventilation system.

After the school board addresses the recommendations from the health department, the department recommends additional testing to determine if the problems have been alleviated.




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