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SC finds mold at Norris Recreation Center

Updated: September 4, 2012 6:18AM

ST. CHARLES — The St. Charles School District has found mold on a wall of a racquetball court during regular maintenance of the Norris Recreation Center and is following through with cleanup of the contamination.

“With the district’s history we are being very open with the community and people who use our facilities,” said Donald Schlomann, St. Charles superintendent.

The mold was discovered Wednesday during a scheduled two week closing for annual maintenance and improvements of the facility.

Schlomann said a maintenance crew discovered the mold while sanding and painting a northeast exterior wall in the latter of three racquetball courts.

“They started to work on a soft spot, opened it up and realized we had more of an issue,” he said.

St. Charles East High School was closed for a year-and-a-half after mold was found in the Dunham wing in 2001. The high school is a separate building located on the same campus off Dunham Road and East Main Street.

On Thursday, Schlomann took media into the affected area where a piece of the backside infill material remained affixed to the exterior wall and where the wallboard would normally have covered it up.

He said the source of the problem was likely water from the ceiling and the mold was growing for some time.

“We are getting migration of moisture in the walls from somewhere,” he said.

The Norris Recreation Center was built in 1974 originally as part of the St. Charles Park District and eventually turned over to the School District. It is used as a community recreational facility, but students do use the swimming pool that is a separate part of the building.

The affected area is within an addition completed in 1981.

Schlomann said the Chicago-based environmental consulting firm Carnow Conibear was to begin work Thursday afternoon. He said crews would seal the area off to create a negative pressure and tear off the walls all the way to the ceiling until mold is not found.

The wall consists of the plaster, wallboard, a foam product, block foundation and a face brick.

“Normally in construction today there would be a vapor barrier and air space within the wall. We suspect that helped contribute to the mold. We suspect mold is all the way up to the ceiling,” Schlomann said.

Schlomann said the addition was built with a separate air ventilation system and they were able to shut off the air-handler unit for the courts.

He said daily indoor air quality samples will be done throughout the entire facility.

Schlomann said it is their hope to have all of the remediation and removal of mold completed by the scheduled reopening of Aug. 13, but it is possible the repairs might take longer.

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