Rylee McDonal ~ Copy Editor
Residents in Montgomery Hall at the University of Lynchburg have been complaining about black mold in their dorm rooms.
Black mold, also sometimes known as toxic mold or toxic black mold, is a type of fungus that usually occurs in damp or water-damaged buildings.
Some side effects of black mold poisoning include having headaches, pain, and nosebleeds. However, there are no reports of this actually happening. There have been reports of respiratory issues and some symptoms that can be associated with a common cold.
Black mold cases on college campuses have been more prevalent in the past few years, and, unfortunately, the University of Lynchburg is no exception.
Montgomery Hall as it was erected in 1970 since the beginning of semester has been the source of many of the complaints.
Kaiya Patton, a first year student said, “My roommate, Chloe Brazil, got sick to the point where she couldn’t talk, and it went on for about a week or so before she found mold in our closets. We were obviously upset, and switched rooms. I found that three pairs of my shoes had mold growing all over them. I tried to be reimbursed for the shoes that I had to throw out, but action did not occur until today (Oct. 5, 2021). It wasn’t until after we switched rooms that we found out we had black mold growing in the air vent in our old room.”
Patton also stated, “Chloe is still sick from the black mold and has had to visit the health center on multiple different occasions before they finally gave her proper medicine and I am starting down that road too.” Patton also stated that both she and Chloe are extremely hurt by this event and feel the school didn’t care about their health. As well, Patton said, “After talking with our CL’s and multiple upperclassmen, we have found that mold has been a problem in our dorm for many years, and it shouldn’t be a problem that keeps reoccurring.”
Terry Bodine, the housing coordinator for Housing and Residence Life, stated, “As soon as students reported the issue, we had Residence Life Staff, maintenance, and Environmental Services working on it.”
Bodine also stated that all HVAC units in Tate and Montgomery have been checked and had their filters replaced. All rooms have been cleaned and dehumidifiers have been added to the buildings.
Jarod Kirby, the area coordinator for Housing and Residence Life, had a meeting with Hurt and Profit, as well as SGA President Matthew Gillett, on Oct. 6 and reviewed the information gathered.
“Compared to the outside air quality on the day of testing, the lab results and report do not show an excessive abundance of mold spores in our first-year residential spaces” said Kirby.“However, the report shows that we have a relative humidity issue in our first-year residential areas.”
The testing also revealed that the mold spores were Aspergillus/Penicillium, basidiospores, and Cladosporium.
Kirby stated, “While these spores were found during testing, they all fall within the normal limits for internal air quality compared to the external air analysis.”
He also stated, “The Vice President for Business and Finance requested the humidity levels in the building be monitored daily to see if improvements are being made. Getting the relative humidity in our facilities to levels within the acceptable range will allow us to control, mitigate, and hopefully prevent additional mold growth.”
The Environmental Services and Maintenance Teams would also like the community to know what was used to treat the spaces affected by the mold:
- Vital Oxide: this is a hospital grade, EPA-registered, disinfectant cleaner, mold killer, and odor eliminator
- Spray Nine: a heavy duty cleaning, disinfecting, and degreasing spray, used to address viruses, bacteria, mold and mildew on hard surfaces
- No Slime: this is a solid tablet and liquid placed directly into AC units to prevent condensation build-up within the AC unit, which will act as a mold and mildew preventative
- Electrostatic Fogger: this machine is used with the Vital Oxide to disperse the disinfectant throughout the air in spaces which will then work to kill mold and mildew particles in the area.
As Kirby stated, while there was no black mold growing within the dorms, there were still different types of mold growing within the buildings. To prevent this growth, he shared:
- Keep windows closed at all times
- Try to open your blinds to let natural sunlight in during the day
- Allow air flow, do not block AC units
- Keep exterior doors closed
- Avoid condensation; keep room temp at or above 72 degrees
- Don’t leave wet items lying around
- Make sure all bathroom windows are closed
- Make sure you are regularly cleaning your rooms.
If you notice black mold, please contact the Office of Housing and Residence Life to report it at email@example.com. You may also contact Terry Bodine: firstname.lastname@example.org and Jarod Kirby: email@example.com