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Waverly High School Moisture Issue; Facility Update

June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012

The purpose of this message is to update you regarding progress on several facility projects, as well as a moisture problem at Waverly High School that will require remediation.

Heating/Cooling Project at Eagle Elementary, Waverly Intermediate School
In May, the Board of Education approved a $1.285 million heating and cooling project at Eagle Elementary and Waverly Intermediate School. This project will improve the physical climate as well as the energy efficiency at both buildings. This is occurring out of necessity, as the life expectancy of equipment has been surpassed, and the heating unit at Eagle is beyond repair. To pay for the project, the Board of Education issued bonds, which do not affect our general fund budget.

Waverly Middle School
At Waverly Middle School, window coverings were installed in the spring, and materials have been ordered to install sound panels in the wood shop. These projects (over $15,000) were paid from the bond fund dollars that remained after the completion of the middle school five years ago. The reason for the years of waiting was due to issues with the geo-thermal system, and unknown costs associated with fixing the problem. We are nearing resolution, and have implemented a solution that seems to have resolved most of the problems, thus allowing us to move forward with completion of items that were initially scheduled for completion when the facility was built.

Waverly High School
At Waverly High School, sound panels will also be added to the wrestling room (partial funding provided by the wrestling club and athletic boosters). Additional band uniforms were ordered this spring to accommodate the growth in the number of students. New doors to the main office will be installed. More than $30,000 of district funds is committed to these projects.

Moisture Problems Discovered at WHS
Waverly High School once again is experiencing moisture problems. This time, it has nothing to do with the gym, or the drain tile system that was installed around the building. 

What caused the problem?

We have discovered that the exterior windows in classrooms (Pods 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000) have been leaking when it rains. 

How many classrooms? 
There are 12 classrooms at WHS that have drywall and exterior windows that are leaking. We have found that over time the moisture that has accumulated inside those rooms has caused some mold to form inside the wall cavity. 

What has been done about it?

On June 21, a meeting was held at WHS with staff to explain details, the planned course of action, and to answer questions. The investigation at WHS started after concerns were expressed by parents regarding student illness. Initially the area of concern was in the music rooms (northwest portion of WHS). Outside consultants were brought in to conduct an inspection. Although no environmental issues were identified in the music rooms, a moisture problem was discovered in the Family and Consumer Science classroom (eastern side of WHS).
To help our district, a team has been assembled, including an architect, environmental/air quality specialists, window installation company, and insurance company representatives. 

On May 29th, an on-site inspection was conducted to identify the cause of the moisture problems, the number of areas impacted, the extent of the problem, to provide recommendations for fixing, and to provide a scope of work to address the mold. A small set of air samples were collected from the building. Air test results showed that the mold spore count inside the classrooms were lower than the mold spore count found outside the building.

The team met on-site again on June 13 to further inspect the window systems, to determine specific corrective actions for the windows, to inspect the exterior of the building to identify additional potential sources for the problem, and conduct further investigation in the classrooms.

How will the problem be fixed?
To remediate the problem, drywall will be removed from classrooms that are impacted. Wall cavities, once exposed, will be examined further to ensure that the problem is corrected. The protocol implemented follows federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Once the remediation has occurred, additional testing will be conducted to ensure the problem is resolved. During the remediation process, the WHS classrooms will not be utilized.

We are planning to replace the windows to alleviate the moisture problem. This will take time to get the specifications, to solicit bids for the project, order, and install the windows. In the mean time, remediation of the drywall will begin during the last week in June and continue through mid-July. Work will occur in one pod of classrooms at a time. After one pod is finished, new drywall will be installed in that pod while remediation continues in the next pod of rooms. 

Will the problem be resolved before school starts in August?

We expect to have the drywall remediation and installation completed by the start of the school year. The windows will be the second phase of the project, and will not be completed prior to school starting; however, we will use temporary measures to limit the moisture infiltration until a permanent solution can occur.

It is very important to understand that this is not an air quality problem at WHS, it is a moisture problem. The mold found in WHS classrooms is concentrated INSIDE the wall cavity; in other words it is not visible from inside the classrooms. At this point, the “patches” of mold found cover less than ten square feet of area, mainly below the window sills. (Roughly an area of 3 feet by 3 feet)

As soon as we became aware of the potential problem, we began taking appropriate steps to address the issue. The team we have assembled is very knowledgeable and experienced with environmental issues. 

We have quality facilities, and our staff is working very hard this summer to get everything in shape for the upcoming school year. Please contact the district office with any questions, comments, or concerns. We want to provide accurate information, and will provide updates regarding progress with this project.

WHS Facility Update 6-25-12

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