School’s mold problem blamed on weather, old cooling system


Restoration crews gathered trash bags outside of Smoketown Elementary School on Thursday.

Conestoga Valley superintendent Dr. Dave Zuilkoski said custodial crews found mold growing on the ceiling last week.

“It was on the bottom side of ceiling title,” Zuilkoski said.

Zuilkoski says the mold came from a combination of extreme humidity and an old two-pipe heating and cooling system.

“The condensation from the cold water pipe saturated the water around the pipe which caused mold on the pipe and that dripped down to the ceiling tile,” he said.

A letter sent home to parents said crews are tearing out the ceiling tiles. The area that needs the most work is the hallway with fourth-grade classrooms, but crews have also had to remove tiles in the third-grade wing and main lobby.

“They’re going to take off all the wrapping, clean everything, and put on a new wrapping that doesn’t absorb the moisture like the current wrapping does,” Zuilkoski said. 

Extensive tests will be done before children are allowed back in the school.

“We’re doing air tests in all areas,” Zuilkoski said. “We’re making sure everything is going to be safe and healthy for our kids when they come back.”

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