Free of mold, classes resume at Jordan Elementary

  • Article by: SARAH LEMAGIE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 13, 2011 - 12:11 AM

The first day of school for Jordan Elementary students was delayed a week to allow a major building clean-up.

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File photo: Kids and staff at Jordan Elementary

Photo: Stormi Greener, Star Tribune

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Jordan Elementary students attended their first day of school on Monday after mold problems led to a major building clean-up that delayed classes for nearly a week.

On Friday, an environmental consultant told the Scott County school district that workers had removed mold spores from air ducts and carpeting that had been contaminated.

The maintenance crisis started mid-summer, when a cooling unit broke down in sweltering heat and humidity levels rose in the building, creating a mold-friendly environment, school officials said. Carpet cleaning also might have contributed to the problem, with workers struggling to dry damp carpets, said Superintendent Kirk Nelson.

The upshot: Mold was discovered growing in many classrooms, prompting repairs, cleaning and environmental testing that took weeks. Last month, the Jordan school board pushed back the first day of school to give workers more time to install new carpet in dozens of classrooms and clean several air ducts, among other steps.

A new cooling unit that was installed in the school cost about $150,000, while duct cleaning ran about $33,000 and new carpet cost between $90,000 and $100,000, Nelson said.

Other clean-up costs, such as overtime for workers, are still being tallied, he said.

Most of the money has come out of the district's fund for building and grounds work, although the district and its insurance company are still in talks to determine who will cover some costs, Nelson said. The district has also applied to the state for authority to tax the community for some health and safety costs related to the clean-up, he added.

To make up for lost class time, the district might change bus routes in such a way that students will get a few extra minutes in class each day next semester, Nelson said.

Jordan Elementary will hold meetings at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. during its open house on Sept. 19 to answer parents' questions about the clean-up.

Sarah Lemagie • 952-882-9016

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