July 25, 2012 | LXXII, No. 17

Report: Center School needs fresh air

A lack of fresh air that allows irritating contaminants to build up is the source of many complaints at Center School, a new report concludes.

The air quality report on Center School raises serious concerns, but presents manageable solutions, Superintendent Dennis Carlson told the school district directors Monday.

The anxiously awaited study was prompted by a complaint from staff members at the school, who said staff and students had for some time been suffering from burning eyes, sore throats and headaches, as well as other poor health indicators. They said the poor air quality contributed to absenteeism at the school.

The administration, after a petition was addressed to the board, ordered an air quality study by Fulcrum, a consulting firm.

Carlson told the board that the air quality was impacted by a lack of fresh air introduced into the building. Accordingly, Carlson noted, the absence of controlled air exchange results in a lack of exhausting accumulated contaminants, including bodily odors, gasses from instructional supplies, such as paints and glues, plus dust and the chemical off-gassing of new products brought into the building.

The report stated that in one classroom, Room 203, there is also a localized area of mold growth.

Fulcrum summarized its report by stating: “Based on evaluation of the rooms included, all areas of the building should be considered to have insufficient fresh-air.

Recommendations include:

• Remove excess teaching supplies from classrooms, including clearing of all items from the top of unit ventilators, and not less than four feet of unrestricted space in front of each unit ventilator.

• Complete a thorough cleaning of the building with high efficiency particulate air filtered vacuums.

• Modify unit ventilators to the extent possible to allow for introduction of additional fresh air into the building.

• Monitor and adjust temperature levels to remain within the prescribed range of 68 to 75 degrees during occupied times.

• Complete additional investigation in classroom 203 for the presence of mold growth.

• Replace all water damaged ceiling times in the building.

• Phase out old upright vacuums with new commercial grade backpack HEPA-filtered vacuums for daily cleaning.

Carlson told the board that he is already looking into the purchase of the vacuum cleaners and will, as much as possible, replace water-stained ceiling tiles.

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