A crowd full of curiosity was jam packed into the elementary school for a school board meeting in the Union Local School District Wednesday evening as District Superintendent Kirk Glasgow said that mold has been removed from the building.

“We were very surprised by the moisture issues in the school,” Union Local Elementary School Principal Rob Bober indicated as future work is being planned to prevent the mold from returning. “Most of it was in the music room and two of our Title One rooms.”

According to Glasgow, there were rooms in each wing of the school that were checked for spores after several staff members complained of foul odors and spots throughout the school.

Inspecting the elementary school, which has 70 staff members, was performed by John Gongola of SDI Environmental Consulting on July 2.

Funguses found in the school included aspergillus/ penicillium, ascospores, alternaria, basidiospores and cladosporium.

“Most of the school had relatively low numbers of spores, which means it is safe because you are always going to have some of these spores in a building,” Eric Matyskiela of CMG Architects & Engineers Inc. in Wheeling said after inspecting the school. “But we did find a problem in room A-19, the music room.”

The mold problem was caught in the early stages which Gongola said was a big plus and makes the process of removing it easier.

“Mold spores are not a problem; mold is usually a symptom of water intrusion, which can lead to other problems,” he said as the moisture seeped into the drywall.

To fix the problem Glasgow had Robert Contraguerro Jr. of Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration to remove the drywall.

“We have removed the drywall in that room, and cleaned the entire room down. It was a pretty simple project,” he said.

“The crews from Panhandle have ensured us they can get rid of this problem and have use up and ready when school starts,” Bober indicated. “We have a lot of good people working with us on this project.”

While the work to remove the mold is done a lot of work still needs to be done to prevent it from coming back.

Matyskiela recommended more work to be done to prevent future mold. His recommendations for the school include: pressure wash and clean all exterior existing masonry surfaces to remove dirt from pores and to remove staining; apply sealant to all exterior masonry surfaces and require a 10-year warranty; remove existing caulking and backer-rod from all control joints; install new backer-rod and sealant at all control joints and require a 20-year warranty for this work; install sealant “fillet” on top of the accent bands which are currently trapping water; and remove and replace all sealant at all exterior window locations.

The cost for the project is still being discussed and is expected to be ironed out with the district to be done in time for school to start in August.

Cook can be reached at bcook@timesleaderonline.com