Higley school district checking for mold - East Valley Tribune: News

Higley school district checking for mold

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Posted: Monday, August 17, 2009 4:36 pm | Updated: 2:58 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Flat roofs at three Higley elementary schools have caused roof leaks in the past, most recently at San Tan Elementary School, and district officials are making sure the leaks haven't caused any mold.

Although no recent mold has been found, and no recent complaints from students and staff regarding mold have been received, mold might be an issue because of these leaks, said Tony Malaj, the director of educational support and community partnerships with the Higley Unified School District.

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"We're suspecting there might be mold problems, but we don't know," Malaj said. "We will check to make sure there isn't."

District officials are in the process of having contractors come out to Coronado and Power Ranch elementary schools within the month, Malaj said.

In May, Power Ranch had nonairborne mold problems in a few classrooms, said Superintendent Denise Birdwell in a letter sent to parents Tuesday.

"Ensuring that our schools are safe and healthy is a responsibility that we take seriously," Birdwell said in the letter. "We worked promptly to assess the situation (at Power Ranch) and resolve the issue."

Arizona Risk Retention, the school district's insurance carrier, has contractors that will come out, rip out the drywall and look for any mold and other issues. Another company will be called in to do air quality tests, Malaj said.

"Whenever they get these calls, that's how they (Arizona Risk Retention) handle it," Malaj said. "They have a mitigation plan."

District officials hope to find a way to mitigate the constant roof leaks because of the flat roof construction.

"Some of the roofs may be just fine," Malaj said. "Some, like Power Ranch, may need a larger fix."

Birdwell said a letter will be sent home with students after the district finds out results from air quality tests and finishes checking for roof leaks at Power Ranch and Coronado.

Construction crews are still finishing up work at San Tan Elementary School after a roof leak earlier this month damaged the stage area of the multipurpose room. As of Monday, the roof leak had been repaired and the painting was finished. The carpet and baseboards still needed to be replaced, Malaj said.

Air quality testing completed after the roof leak found no airborne or asbestos issues at San Tan, Malaj said.

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