Three residence halls taken out of service to resolve minor mold issue

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Housing and Food Services officials have announced that Leete, Holmes and Runkle halls in the North Halls complex on the University Park campus have been temporarily removed from service to allow a team of certified contractors to fully resolve a minor issue with mold. The mold found in these buildings is common to our area and is not considered harmful to staff or guests.

Beginning in early July, housing staff began to observe surface mold in small, isolated areas in rooms in each of the three buildings.

“Members of our staff have worked diligently through most of July to conduct visual inspections and keep the buildings clean,” said Conal Carr, director of housing at Penn State. “However, this month’s extended heat and humidity have caused an issue with minor surface mold in these three buildings. In order to fully resolve the problem, we have made the decision to temporarily take the buildings out of service, to allow easy access for contractors as they address the issue.”

Specialized contractors, following industry-standard protocols, have begun work today (Friday, July 26) in Runkle Hall and will have the process completed in time for the arrival of guests on Sunday afternoon. Early next week, identical steps will be taken in Leete and Holmes halls. Carr said building managers are working closely with Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant on short- and long-term steps to better control humidity in the buildings, which ultimately is the solution to the problem.

“Minor mold growth is a common concern for many building owners, especially in the midst of a particularly hot and humid summer,” said Maurine Claver, director of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at Penn State. “Our primary concern is for the health and well-being of our guests and staff. Though the current situation does not present a risk to building occupants and employees, we of course want to be proactive in our approach.”

Carr said professional staff, including individuals from EHS, will continue to follow established best practices to inspect, monitor and manage the situation in the coming weeks to ensure the issues have been resolved in advance of the return of students for the fall semester.

Those who have questions or concerns should contact the central housing office, at 814-865-7543.

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Last Updated July 26, 2013