Mold discovery closes RSOP facilities

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Mold was discovered on Feb. 9 in the ceiling of the Sports and Health room 90, immediately closing the ice rink, track and climbing wall.

John Rashid, director of UMD’s facilities management, is currently working on the investigation of the mold outbreak.

“We were looking to do a paint job,” Rashid said. “We were going to paint the ceiling and structures in there and one of our maintenance people went in to try and scope out the work. They discovered the mold and then contacted environmental health and safety for an evaluation.”  

Environmental health and safety workers then spent the next week assessing health risks and figuring out how long the mold may have been there.

UMD Marketing and Public Relations Director Lynne Williams said after some investigation that they believe the mold was caused by a lack of dehumidification this summer in the ice rink.

“The mold was discovered in the ceiling, but the exact spot is unknown,” Williams said. “It takes up a large number of square footage.”

After running tests on the mold, they discovered it was Cladosporium -- most commonly found in the outdoor environment, especially during spring and fall.

“Symptoms would be closely aligned to what you’d experience with allergies,” Williams said. “Anybody who would have been exposed would have noticed immediate allergy-like symptoms.”

Although runners on the track may have experienced some of these allergy-like symptoms, Williams confirmed that there are no long-term effects of exposure to this type of mold.

At this point in time, the environmental health and services department, as well as facilities management, are still trying to figure out the scope of the mold and how long the abatement process will take.

“From what I’ve been told from facilities, they have a better idea now of a timeline, but (we) still don’t know yet,” Williams said.

Currently, environmental and health services is looking at adjacent buildings to the ice rink to see if there are similar growths, but so far they have not found anything.

“We are still in the discovery process right now,” Rashid said. “But we should know more in about a week’s time.”

 

NewsAddie Marzinske