Sunday, January 26, 2014

1/25/14 Daily Update from Dr. Schuster on HMS Mold Remediation Progress Leaves Us Asking: Why Isn't the MRC Carpeting being Replaced?

Last night Dr. Schuster emailed a progress report (copied below) to the D181 Community reporting that work continues at Hinsdale Middle School to remediate the mold and that it is still on track for the February 3 re-opening date.  We thank the administration for moving the timeline information up to the beginning of the email.

After reading this email and the one she sent out on Friday, we are left baffled by one item.

Why isn't the MRC carpeting being replaced?  Why is it only being cleaned "again"?  HMS teachers already stated during public comments that they were told it only needed to be dried out because it was only soaked with clean water.  They questioned this conclusion because to get to the carpeting, the water had to soak through the roof, ceilings and drywall, much of which we now believe contained old mold, not to mention dust and dirt that has accumulated over the years.  We already know that initially the remediation company tried to dry out the carpeting.  Now it appears that the carpeting will be cleaned "again." So how many times has it been cleaned?

The real question is: How much money would it really cost to replace the MRC carpeting?  The MRC is not that large!  Taxpayers already have to foot part of the nearly $400,000 bills submitted by SERVPRO and Integrity Environmental Services.  It seems to us that new, never before contaminated carpeting for the teachers and students to walk on, won't break the bank.  Why would Dr. Schuster or the Board skimp on this? We hope the Board asks Dr. Schuster what new carpeting would cost, at the Monday 1/27 board meeting, and then directs her to have it installed.  Another question they should ask is whether the cost of the remediation by SERVPRO is going to increase beyond the $129,000 since the work is going to take them almost twice as long as they projected at the 1/20 emergency meeting.

Dr. Schuster's 1/25/14 Email:

"Dear District 181 Community,

The progress at Hinsdale Middle School is continuing. We are still anticipating that HMS will reopen on Monday, February 3.  
  • Third Floor: Water mitigation on the third floor was limited to the storage room off the gym where the first water break occurred. This room has been insulated, a new gas-forced heater has been installed, and the pipe has been fixed and secured. The gym itself is in excellent condition.
  • Second Floor: The second floor cleaning began yesterday and continues into today. Many of the rooms have been completed and are now locked. In the science labs, the floors have been stripped, furniture is being put back in place, the sinks are being re-connected and before the end of the week, a new sealant will have been applied to all of the science lab floors. On Monday, we will contact Hallett Movers to begin putting the books back onto the MRC shelves. The carpeting in the MRC will be cleaned again on Monday. All lockers are back in place and secured to the walls on the second floor. SERVPRO will be off of the second floor by Monday morning, with the exception of a few minor items.
  • First Floor: All the microbial gyp board is installed, taped and "mudded." Cleaning on a mass scale is being done; the Commons was being deep cleaned today. Many of the rooms on the first floor have been cleaned and locked. The first floor cleaning should be complete by the end of the day on Monday.
Duct cleaning will begin Monday morning and continue through the week. The turnover of the building to Integrity should be complete by Friday so that final air quality samples can be taken. Results should be back by Sunday, and we are still planning for a tour of the facility on Sunday, February 2.

Dr. Renée Schuster


Anonymous said...

Since 2009 D181 $4.7 million has been spent on a new HVAC system for HMS and now nearly $400,000 is being spent to remediate mold, but the administration won't buy new carpeting for one room? What is wrong with this picture? The board should eliminate one of the administrator positions (because anyone taking 2 minutes to evaluate the situation can see D181 is top heavy) and use the savings to pay for the carpeting!

Anonymous said...

This is an old article that shows how much the HVAC system cost.

Anonymous said...

Could someone with some building experience recommend or donate a replacement for the carpet? There are new, really great hardwood laminates out now that are waterproof. This is the type of flooring that is in most retail, commercial and residential spaces. It looks amazing, is durable, and extremely inexpensive. Besides that, I am sure with just a little guidance, parent volunteers could install it. Forget cleaning the carpet again - it will never get clean.

By the way, I have NO experience in building or design, sop I would appreciate if others wouldn't violently criticize my idea if they don't like it. I am just throwing some possible, cost effective solutions out there that corporations use all the time in details spaces. Let's stay open minded and consider all options. I think think the community has been presented with an opportunity to work together and model some cooperation and problem solving skills for our kids. Now is the time for us to come together.

The Parents said...

We like your idea!

Mr. Everett said...

It is undoubtedly far more time efficient to sanitize the carpet and leave it in place that ripping it out and replacing it.

Should anyone try to "donate" actual building materials to D181 or any public body the overly legalistic burecrats would certsinly raise objections over not just its safety and suitability but any potential liability should that material be found to contribute to a "sick building" down the road...

Quite a can a worms.

Anonymous said...

I actually disagree. They have cleaned that carpet multiple times and staff and parents are anxious about it. It would be much for efficient to rip it out and dispose of the problem once and for all. We need to stop being penny wise and pound foolish. That is what got us in this mess.

I would encourage people to check out board docs. There are important agenda items listed that do not include the HMS issue. HMS is the most important issue right now, but we cannot ignore everything else. There is a particularly troubling item relating to substitute teachers. We have a shortage, no doubt because we rely way too heavily on them. Instead of getting our teachers back into the classroom where they belong, the administration wants to increase the pay of substitute teachers. In addition, there is an important discussion on staffing for next year and class size. Finally, ABC news filed a FOIA regarding the mold issue. I guess Turek is going to publicly call them a bully.....

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comment. In addition to the agenda items on board docs, there are a few items from the last regularly scheduled board meeting that need to be further explored:

1. What exactly did our administrators mean when they said at the recent TASH social justice conference that this district's Learning for All plan is based on the non negotiable principals of inclusive schooling from Capper & Frattura?

2. Why did this district hire a new gifted consultant - one that the board never approved - and one that was a presenter at the recent TASH social justice conference - when this district no longer has a gifted program?

3. Why are we paying teachers to tutor fourth grade students who are performing at grade level in math but who are failing at the 5th grade acceleration - instead of just allowing them to learn fourth grade math (the grade they are in)?

Anonymous said...

Agree with the last two comments. Any time a basement floods around here, you see the old carpet and padding on the curb. Why can't we just replace the MRC carpet? Commercial grade carpet is very reasonable in cost and the install should be done in a day.

With regard to the rest of the agenda items, I recognize that HMS is our current hot button. However, there are a lot of critical issues that still need to be addressed and I'm afraid the administration is going to push them under the rug. We need to get Dr. Moon out here right away because this Learning for All plan is a sham. We need to deal with curriculum issues and parent/teacher concerns.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with the comment above. Paying teachers to tutor students who lack foundational skills in the grade they are currently in, while at the same time accelerating them to the next grade just makes so much sense, doesn't it?! Insert sarcasm!! What is the administration going to do with these kids next year? Tutor them in 5th grade foundational skills while accelerating them in the 6th grade curriculum? Do you see a vicious cycle? I, too, would like the answers to questions 1 and 2 from the previous comment. HMS may be in the forefront of everyone’s minds, but parents are not forgetting about the curriculum!!!!

Mr. Everett said...

Anyone that has set through any meeting of a public body in Illinois would know that it is not as easy as picking up a phone and dialing five, eight, eight , two, three, hundred to make a CAPITAL purchase.

State law requires that a process of RFPs and bids be enforced.

This is less about cost than procedure.

The "rat squad" folks that were picketing HMS may also be considered part of the ugliness that comes from forcing public bodies to abide by union bullies that drive up the complexity of doing even "emergancy" repairs.

BTW Where are the cries of outrage over YET ANOTHER day spent at home instead of braving the cold?