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District: Valley Memorial Stadium mold 'not threat'

| Friday, Sept. 10, 2010

New Kensington-Arnold School District officials this week gave students the all-clear to return to the athletic facilities at the multipurpose building in Valley Memorial Stadium.

Students were barred from using the weight, locker and wrestling rooms last week after a small amount of mold was discovered on the weight room ceiling.

Superintendent George Batterson said air quality tests confirmed airborne mold spores were not present, and the air was deemed healthy to breathe. He said separate tests were conducted by Pennoni Associates and Howard Building Testing and Inspection and certified by two labs.

Batterson said further inspection this week determined the ceiling mold was "not health-threatening," and he allowed students back into the building on Wednesday.

The all-clear was given in time for the varsity football team's first home game tonight against Hollidaysburg.

The mold is the result of an ongoing problem with leaks in the year-old building's roof.

Director of Facilities Mike Orr said Trinity Contracting, one of the companies involved with the building's construction, continues to negotiate with a subcontractor and the roof's manufacturer to determine what caused the problem and who is responsible for fixing it.

Orr said the consensus is that "overtorqued" screws during the roof's installation led to the leaks, which mainly have occurred in the administrative office area. Employees, including Batterson, continue to work in the offices.

Consultants with an infrared camera determined there is a large amount of wet insulation between the roof and the ceiling, Orr said.

Once the contractors determine how much of the roof, insulation and ceiling must be replaced, Orr said they have agreed to make the repairs during a weekend when the football team has an away game to minimize disruption.

Solicitor Tony Vigilante said the manufacturer is involved largely to ensure the repairs are made correctly, since the roof is under warranty. District officials said the repairs should not cost the district anything.

Orr said the leaks have caused some damage to ceiling tiles and wiring.

Batterson said no office equipment has been damaged.

Board Vice President Wayne Perry asked officials to consider whether surface rust on some of the weight equipment is the result of the overly damp atmosphere and whether one of the companies should be held responsible.

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