Heavy rainfall from last year has caused mold to develop in one of Valley College’s buildings.
By Gabriel Arizon, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Water leakage from a major rainstorm last spring has led to a buildup of mold in some of the second-floor classrooms of Campus Center.
In April 2017, rain seeped through the roof of the CC building and leaked into the windows and walls of the classrooms on the east side. Environmental Health and Safety Specialist David Martin from the Los Angeles Community College District found no mold at the time of his inspection, though he did find low traces of lead in the paint.
Over the summer of that year, Director of College Facilities Tom Lopez sanitized the affected areas with bleach and covered them with a white, translucent, plastic tarp, and the leaky roof was fixed that August. According to the History, Humanities, Law and Political Science (HHLPS) Department Chair Michelle Lewis, the windows and walls were to be fixed in the winter, but the project was pushed, leaving some faculty frustrated.
“That’s how they decided to fix it,” history Professor John Dillion said. “I don’t know if it’s ever going to be fixed.”
Currently, however, there are some traces of mold found in the classrooms. According to the minutes from a Work Environment Committee this past September, a specialist from LACCD conducted another mold test over the summer and measured mold levels higher than normal, although air samples were found to still be within safe levels for the rooms to be used. The document did state that the mold levels could affect “sensitive people.”
While Lopez could not recall exactly what kind of mold is in the classrooms, he described it as “the same kind of mold [found] outside.”
The document does say the affected areas were sanitized and covered with a heavier (black) tarp. The current deadline to fix the walls is next summer, according to both Lopez and Lewis.
The Valley Star reached out to at least 10 professors who teach classes on the top floor of the Campus Center, most of whom were unclear or unaware of the mold. Psychology Professor Christopher Pallotti remarked, “that would explain why I’m sick all the time.”
Some common types of mold are alternaria, aspergillus, chaetomium, penicillium, ulocladium and fusarium. Several of the ones listed originate from damp areas and are found outside. Although some cause minor damage, serious health risks can arise for people left untreated, like asthma attacks, allergic reactions and breathing problems.