Academic Building III underwent mold and asbestos abating over Thanksgiving break after the toxins were discovered in October. Although the building was deemed safe for occupancy, the School of Nursing has opted to hold classes in the Lowman Student Center as a result.
Complaints of mold in October prompted the university to conduct air quality tests in the building, according to university spokesperson Julia May, Tests found four areas with potentially harmful levels of mold. Removing the mold also required removing the unrelated asbestos from the inside of the walls.
“The 4 locations that exceeded the accepted IAQ standards were spaces that are not normally occupied,” May said. “Two samples from record storage rooms, one from a laundry room and one sample from a mechanical room [were found]. In addition, the experts that conducted the IAQ survey stated that they did observe mold spores in areas that possibly included asbestos containing material.”
May said Texas state law requires they took care of the asbestos before they cleaned the mold. Asbestos is only dangerous when agitated and airborne but not when it’s dormant inside a wall. Exposure can lead to mesothelioma.
Sam Houston State University has received multiple complaints in years past and has performed multiple indoor air quality tests.
“As far as I know, this is the first occasion where we did not meet the Texas IAQ standards,” May said.
A container was placed outside AB III with the asbestos and mold from the building, but university officials said students, faculty and staff do not need to take extra precaution around it.
“There are no hazards to the public as a result of the ACM within the container,” May said. “The experts responsible for removing ACM from AB III have met all the state and federal guidelines with regard to monitoring or testing the air outside of the ACM containment within AB III.”
While the building is now mold free, the SHSU School of Nursing decided to move classes from AB III to the Lowman Student Center for the remainder of the fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters, according to May.
Junior nursing major Brooke Nell was moved to other buildings across campus, including the LSC and LEMIT Center.
Nell said she felt it is unfair to be moved around campus even though the alternative is just as unfavorable.
“I think it is terrible,” Nell said. “One of my friends has a persistent cough that we are pretty sure was caused by the mold. My friends from my cohort and I all agree that we need a new building. It is ridiculous that a building we spend four days a week in, consisting of anywhere between two to seven hours, has mold. That’s my health at stake.”
Calls to faculty and staff members in the School of Nursing were unreturned.