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Mold keeps St. Charles classrooms off-limits

By Gary Gibula

Special to the Chicago Tribune
Published September 3, 2003

Students and teachers at St. Charles East High School are waiting to find out when they will be allowed back into six classrooms after officials found mold in the walls last week.

Although three walls separating the rooms were rebuilt with cement block over the weekend, another moldy wall has been discovered, Community Unit School District 303 said in a statement Tuesday. That wall will be repaired on Wednesday.

"We made excellent progress over the weekend," said Supt. Fran Kostel. "We're very pleased that the walls were replaced so quickly and we look forward to getting students back into those rooms very soon." He did not specify, however, what day classes might resume in the affected area.

Regional Supt. Clem Mejia must inspect and approve the work. That may happen Wednesday, officials said, so the classrooms will remain dark until at least Thursday.

Work in the classrooms began Saturday. The new cement block walls also were painted, officials said.

In the latest incident, District 303 environmental consultant Carnow, Conibear and Associates found mold on the back of drywall that had been glued to an exterior cement block wall in one of the classrooms. Officials said the drywall will be removed and the cement block painted.

The classrooms, which were used by between 800 and 900 students, are in the Dunham wing's lower level, which is below ground. A district teacher first noticed the problem last Wednesday, and students have not been allowed in since.

The latest repair costs total about $40,000, plus a $3,000-to-$5,000 fee for the consultant, officials said.

The building was shuttered for more than a year after mold was discovered in 2001. The school district spent $30 million to remove mold and remodel several areas before St. Charles East was reopened last year.

Copyright Copyright 2003, Chicago Tribune

Posted on Wed, Sep. 03, 2003

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