Friday, March 28, 2008

A Ceiling of Mushrooms

#378 A Ceiling of Mushrooms

Mushrooms grow under ground, right? Not always. Sometimes, they grow on the ceiling.

One of the neighboring towns, a place with a long and storied history, and which badly needs a paint job, recently set aside some money to renovate the high school. The project is not going perfectly.

A few things have come out about this renovation that are, well, unsettling.

First, it's running over budget and behind schedule. This in and of itself is not startling. It's happened with every public works project since the contruction of the Great Pyramids, and they found exciting and innovative ways to keep the cost of labor at a minimum.

Second, they put a new floor down in the gym. Sounds like standard stuff, right? They ripped up the old floor, sanded down the concrete beneath and put down the new wood, let it settle, then varnished it and let it sit. Small problem: there's a door in this gym that opens directly to the outside of the building. And one day, someone forgot to close the door. It rained that night and when everyone returned, the floor had kind of oceanic properties, only the waves didn't move.

These waves are too low to surf and too high for a legitimate game of basketball, volley ball, soccer or even roller skating. The finger pointing remains to this day.

The fella who runs the building wouldn't talk with us about it. And based on that, we're not even going to try to ask him about the Ceiling of Mushrooms.

Said crop was discovered when they removed part of the drop ceiling beneath it as part of that same renovation.

Mold on the ceiling above the ceiling. No biggie. They measured it. It was 800 square feet. Both state and federal regs say you have to report anything over 100 square feet. Eight hundred is bigger than 100. They teach that stuff in the very building with the ceiling mold.

Okay, so call the mold abatement people, clean the thing up, replace the drop ceiling and all's well, right? Wrong.

Along comes one of those people we're always "quoting on condition of anonymity because otherwise he'll be out of a job." He tells the local paper "Hey, there was a mold problem and they got rid of it, but didn't tell anyone."

So the paper goes to Building Guy and says "hey, Building Guy, we heard there was an 800 square foot mold problem...." And the Building Guy answers "Mold? There was no mold. What are you talking about?" And the paper noses around a little and finds a receipt from the mold killer company and goes back to Building Guy and says "hey, what's this receipt from the mold killer company if there was no mold?" And Building Guy says somethinglike "hmmmm. I don't remember that..." Then he shuffles through his desk drawer and says "well, lookie here! Yeah. We had some mold. I guess I just forgot about it. I have a lot of stuff cross my desk these days. Just slipped my mind. But there's nothing to worry about, it's all been taken care of."

Did the school board discuss this? No, at least not in a public meeting. Did the school district tell the kids, the parents, the teachers, the workers? Nope.

All this stuff makes the front page. And the school board sends hell-rockets to the paper for "blowing the story out of proportion."

So Building Guy is either a liar or incompetent. Or both. But who cares. The renovation is getting done, and it's a sure bet he enjoyed those ceiling mushrooms on his dinner salad.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2008

2 comments:

3D said...

Hello. I loosely monitor mold matters in the news.

Could you send me a link to the news article concerning this. I've probably seen it, but I'd like to be sure.

A personal exposure to the nasty stuff changed my life and I have been working with a group of people to bring more attention to the health risks and to assist in litigation for those adversely affected by exposures for the last 7 years.

Wes Richards said...

The original article was from the Centre Daily Times of State College, PA.
http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/story/467189.html

a followup article criticized the paper for its coverage.

I suggest you connect as quickly as possible, as this paper does not leave its links up long.