August 14, 2019
Over this past summer the indoor air quality at the Dort and Goldstein dorms became a concern due to a variety of factors that resulted in widespread surficial mold growth. The mechanical systems serving the dorms began to provide for less dehumidification due to a failure of the makeup air pre-treatment unit and a problem with a chilled water recirculating pump. In addition, during the summer maintenance activities, some contractors left open doors that allowed in large amounts of warm moist air, set the air conditioner thermostats to the coldest possible setting, and in some cases cleaned carpets without extracting the water used in the cleaning. With the abnormal outdoor temperatures occurring in our coastal setting, these actions contributed to a significant level of surficial mold growth.
New College retained the services of PSI, Inc., a nationally recognized indoor air quality consulting firm, to determine the cause of this problem and to recommend appropriate remedial actions. New College then retained the services of Belfor, Inc., a nationwide mold remediation contractor. This team removed the surficial mold growth, thoroughly cleaned the rooms, and treated the air handlers and air conditioning ducts, thus resolving the indoor air quality concerns. PSI provided project supervision and conducted final clearance air testing. New College undertook this effort to restore proper indoor air quality in these dorms to assure students would not be impacted by the events that occurred over the summer.
New College staff and PSI subsequently met to determine the future efforts to prevent a recurrence of this issue. New College plans to install programmable thermostats in each room (limiting the lowest temperature set-point to 72 degrees). Maintenance will check outside air coils monthly, inspect and clean outside air units quarterly, and change filters as necessary. New College will also check and ensure that all filters are changed inside the apartments regularly (monthly) and will store all air filters inside a conditioned space, so as to avoid possible mildew or microbial activity at the source. Students should not block the main air intake inside their rooms with any items.