Black mold calls for reconstruction

William Alexander

When Rosslyn Halekakis, the department chair of physical education, tried locking the door that connects the fitness room to the large gymnasium and it wouldn’t close, she knew there was a problem. There have been numerable leaks across the gymnasium over the years, but this was the most pressing.

The district has been informed about this leak several times in the past year and a half Halekakis said, but has only come to fix the problem last week. The leak caused water damage and black mold to grow. Asbestos was also found to be insulating the wall. Black mold and asbestos are known to cause mesothelioma, which can remain dormant for years. Tiles were falling from the ceiling and the leak had caused overall safety issues.

“This is about the students,” Halekakis said. “Why has it taken so long for the district to do something about it?”

The first report of this leak happened last fall. The leak originated from the main waterline. The pipe was found to be broken, as well as many others. When it rains, water pools on the roof rather than running off.

All fitness room equipment had to be moved to areas where they could be locked down. If areas hadn’t been found, the $70,000 equipment would’ve been lost.

“If I hadn’t seen the door, life would have gone on,” said Halekakis.