Purchase of dehumidifier effort to stop mold from recurring

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LIVERMORE FALLS — Regional School Unit 36 directors agreed to buy an industrial dehumidifier to remove moisture from the lower level of the middle school in an effort to prevent mold from returning. The cost for a free-standing unit is $4,679.

School board directors did not officially vote on buying the dehumidifier on Thursday during a board meeting after Superintendent Judith Harvey said no vote was needed. The money will come out of stimulus funding, she said.

The basement of the school, where some classes and the library are located, had mold last year due to moisture caused from leaking toilets, rainy spring and summer weather, and the location of the lower level being below ground level. There was an industrial cleaning of the area last fall, and no mold was detected after it was cleaned, school officials said.

School board Vice Chairman Mac Haynes, who is also on the Building and Grounds Committee, discussed the options the committee considered including air conditioning and dehumidifier options.

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There is a smell of mildew in the downstairs area, he said.

It would cost $35,000 to install an air exchange system, Harvey said.

“We’re hesitant to do that because we don’t know what the status of the school is going to be,” she said.

RSU 36 and Jay are looking at consolidation, and a potential option is sending Livermore Falls Middle School students to Jay Middle School in 2011.

“(The dehumidifier) is going to make the smell down there better,” Harvey said.

There has always been a mildew smell down in the cellar, Building and Grounds Director Ken Vining said Friday.

It is a preventive measure to try to prevent mold from recurring, Vining said.

There is no money in the budget to rip up the rugs that are there, he said.

There are asbestos tiles under the rugs so if they were removed, then the tiles would need to come up, he said.

It would be expensive, he said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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