Traces of mold believed to be present in portions of Smithville Elementary School has prompted a response from school officials.
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby addressed the issue Tuesday night during the school board meeting, saying an environmental consultant with a Nashville air quality monitoring company visited the school last week and in addition to steps already taken, plans are to do a cleaning of duct work to improve air quality in the building and to work on reducing condensation in places where mold could form. "Ms (Julie) Vincent, Mr. (Earl) Jared, and myself, along with an environmentalist came to the school last Friday. We walked over the whole school but Ms. Vincent and some of the teachers had already sent in areas of concern and those areas were the places where we actually went to and looked in more detail. Personally, I was pleased with some of the recommendations that he (environmentalist) gave us," said Willoughby. " One of the recommendations was to clean the air vents. He recommended that they be cleaned every ten to fifteen years. We're already in the process of making contacts with contractors in order to come in and do that (cleaning). There's another area that needs some insulation. That same contractor is going to come in and do the duct work. We were told that these contractors will come in and do the insulation which will help cut down on condensation in some areas. One of the things, we thought, could be of concern were things on the floor in the first grade area. We asked the environmentalist for his recommendation about that. He said that wasn't mold on those floors where we had some concerns. But we're going to have some people go in and strip those floors down and put down two or three coats of wax. From talking with the person who is putting down our floor tile in the cafeteria, he told me that years ago, they used to put down the floors with some kind of black glue and that this black glue is part of what is coming up between those tiles," said Willoughby.
"The environmentalist removed the air conditioner covers on the outside of the building and it looked brand new in there. It did not look like it was old at all," said Willoughby. " It was very clean. He complimented our maintenance department for keeping their filters and everything changed so that was a big plus. When he got through, I was pretty pleased because it appeared, from what he said, to be an easy fix with some of the concerns we had. So we're making contacts with contractors, trying to get them in there this week. After we do that, we'll ask the environmentalist to come back and look it over to see if there are other concerns that he might have. He (environmentalist) recommended coming up with some kind of policy and we will follow his lead on that to do what is best for this building and to assure people that we've got a good building for students to come into," said Willoughby.
Fifth district school board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III urged school officials to make sure "we're vigilant to find the root of this problem and to fix it. If it recurs then we need to search some more. Since we're getting new roofs on some areas, we need to find the source of these problems for the health of our children and the faculty as well," he said.