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Friday, September 23, 2011

Lyndeborough school to fight mold issues

LYNDEBOROUGH – School officials believe that their plans to construct a kindergarten addition and to move the sixth grade to Wilton will take care of concerns about mold raised in a consultant’s report.

The cover letter to that report, sent to The Telegraph and The Cabinet anonymously by fax, summarized recommendations for the three schools under the aegis of the Cooperative School Board that represents Lyndeborough and Wilton.

The report could be discussed tonight when the School Board meets at Lyndeborough Central School to talk about changes in the plans for kindergarten forced by changes in state funding announced in June.

In the case of Lyndeborough Central School, the letter, sent to Lisa Ambrosio, said, “In the basement stairwell and classroom we observed what we believe to be serious air quality issues caused by dampness and likely mold issues … the problem is very likely stachybotrys mold.”

It further said, “We also observed black mold like material on the exterior walls of the 1989 multi-purpose wing” and “there may be fume issues from the boiler room by the library.”

Ambrosio is the business administrator for School Administrative Unit 63, which covers Lyndeborough and Wilton schools.

Geoff Brock, chairman of the school board, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the school district “is still dealing with forming responses and creating plans” in response to the letter and report from McCormick Facilities Management, of Maine.

Also on Wednesday, Michael McCormick, the firm’s president and CEO, said the school district “is taking note of information in the letter and discussing it internally.”

Brock was the only one of five officials called for comment who responded. Ambrosio did not return a telephone call, nor did Superintendent of Schools Trevor Ebel. School board members Jim Button and Fran Bujak, both of Lyndeborough, also did not return a phone call.

Brock acknowledged that Central School “has always had an issue” with mold in the basement and the stairwell but believes that the issue will be addressed in the district’s plans to move sixth grade to the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative school in Wilton and with the construction of a space for kindergarten. The latter is the primary reason for tonight’s meeting.

“The answer is this addition,” Brock said. Moving the sixth grade will mean that the basement area will not be needed for classes.

Regarding the kindergarten issue, he said that, originally, the state was to fund a 1,200-square-foot addition as well as a parking lot and new entrance. But in June, the state decided it only would fund a 1,000-square-foot space. Under the current district budget, it isn’t clear if the parking lot and new entrance can be funded locally.

“If we have the money to do it we’ll do it, but we won’t know until the bids come in,” Brock said. “We’re hoping the bids come in low enough.”