BY ANNA BELMONTE
Sally Mayhew, Vice President of Administration and Finance, provided a closer look at what conditions in Clark Hall posed a health hazard and what was done to clean the building and make it safe for faculty and staff to move back into.
In old buildings, like we have at McKendree, deteriorating foundations are not uncommon. As they age, cracks form imperceptibly, which allows water to leak inside the building. Around Clark Hall, outside drainage improvements helped move water away from the building in heavy rains, but even this measure wasn’t enough to ensure water-tightness during heavy rainfall. Cracks in the foundations may have been responsible for letting in damaging amounts of water that led to the mold issues experienced in Clark.
The first indicator that there was excessive mold came in the form of illnesses. Director of Show Choir Adam Pulver came down with pneumonia earlier in the semester, but it’s difficult to know the cause and whether or not the ailment came from exposure to mold. Mayhew emphasized that people have allergies to any number of things and even different types of mold. And, since mold exists in any building or outdoor space, people with sensitivities to it will experience symptoms.
However, a notable number of faculty and staff working out of Clark Hall experienced health issues, such as difficulty breathing, coughs and other allergy symptoms. One person came down with bronchitis. While it’s impossible to know the cause of these various health issues, the number of people experiencing them in one semester was abnormal and warranted investigation.