— Contributor, Holly O’Malley, and Correspondent, Jordan Fischetti, contributed to this report
Residents of Hanson Hall basement will receive compensation in the form of the top picks in next year’s sophomore housing lottery, due to the recent uncovering of mold on Jan. 12 and forced relocation as a result. This “preference for sophomore housing“ was announced in an email written by Kiera Kant, Associate Dean of College Life, following a meeting between the Residence Life office and affected residents.
There was also another chapter added to the Hanson Hall mold saga. The basement residents were notified on January 19 that the affected area was deemed to be the basement only, but after a more comprehensive inspection, the entirety of Hanson Hall was evaluated as being infested with mold, according to an email sent to all Hanson residents by Kant.
The upper floors were a part of a ventilation system separate from the basement, but air quality tests were conducted in the common spaces of Hanson floors 1, 2 and 3. The results came back negative on Jan. 12.
What changed? There was a testing of air quality in the upper floors, but there was never an inspection for visible presence of mold, according to one of the residents of Hanson Hall. Compliance Management International performed a comprehensive assessment of the entire building on Feb. 2, including air quality tests, which came back with normal air quality conditions again, like Jan. 12. But this time, there was also a visual assessment with the presence of mold being sought — and found.
“At this point in the assessment of and work on Hanson Hall, the College is focused on the remediation and cleaning of the building to provide a safe and healthy living space for all residents of the building. The Office of Residential & First-Year Programs will respond to all housing inquiries in the coming weeks and prior to the start of the 2018-19 housing selection process,” said Jamie Yates, Executive Director of Communications & Media Relations.
Kant declined to comment on the further details of housing preference for the Hanson basement residents.
The upper floors are being treated one floor at a time, with the residents being removed for approximately 2 weeks while the mold is treated. This cleansing will start with the basement, and then the first floor will be addressed with those residents being moved to the basement temporarily for approximately two weeks. Then, the same process will take place with the second and third floors. The basement floor residents will remain removed for the entirety of the remediation, which will tentatively be complete by the end of March.
“Residence life has sincerely been amazing with this process,” said Daphne Ellis, a RA on Hanson Floor 2.
All Hanson residents are being moved around — but due to a lack of vacancies on campus — some students were moved to the Gettysburg Hotel and some were forced to stay put until options opened up. The students stranded in Hanson were recommended to leave their windows open 24/7 to avoid illness, despite the frigid temperatures.
Some students claimed to have been ill from the conditions, but nothing has proven to be a direct result of the mold, according to a representative from Health Services. Kant shared with the Hanson basement residents that there is no reason for concern — only “those students that may have chronic illness or are receiving medications that decrease their immune response.”
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Full timeline of events
- Prior to Jan. 12 – There was reported concern that moisture was evident above the ceiling, and there was work being done in two adjacent rooms in the basement of Hanson Hall.
- Jan. 12 – Compliance Management International, an environmental consultant, performed an indoor air quality assessment and visual inspection in Hanson Hall basement. Moisture and mold were discovered above some of the ceilings in the basement. An air quality test was performed in the upper floors but no concern was indicated.
- Jan. 19 – Hanson Hall basement residents were informed via an email from Kant
- Jan. 23 – Basement residents met with Kant, regarding the situation
- Jan. 31 – Hanson residents notified that the college was doing further tests to understand the scope of the issue.
- Feb. 2 – Compliance Management International performed a comprehensive assessment of the entire Hanson Hall building. Air quality was tested and the air quality was still reported as normal. The assessment included visual examinations — and Hanson floors 1 and 2 were contaminated and limited areas on floor 3 were also contaminated.
- End of March – Remediation (cleansing) of mold will be tentatively completed.