Fifty-year-old school may explain mold problem, health hazard

SARASOTA, Fla. - Selby Preschool first opened its doors 45 years ago.

The Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities is the non-profit that runs the preschool, whose age may be to blame for its issues.

Parent Tina Wheeler has nothing but praise to utter about the school. "They are really good here I would never complain about anything."

But parents I spoke with say no one told them about a recent indoor air quality report. It details mold contamination in two of the air handlers.

The preschool's director explained they hired an air quality expert who prepared the report for the school in February. Their maintenance department was working on remediation measures and planned to move the children out of the building by August.

After receiving a call from someone whose worked at the school, I notified the Department of Health. Two days later, supervisor Virginia Bess and a couple of inspectors examined the preschool building and determined the children needed to be moved immediately. "The humidity levels were elevated and they found mold, specifically in the air handler rooms, that seemed to be elevated there."

February's report did not mention health risks and the Department of Health believes administrators did not realize the immediate need to get students out of the old building.

Five days after the state inspection, all 27 children were moved into their new classrooms.

Nastasha Dawson, whose niece attends Selby, says she glad to hear it. "I am ecstatic because they are taking the initiative to bring our children into a cleaner, healthier environment."

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