Students living in hotels after dorm is closed for decontamination
SAN ANTONIO – Some students began settling temporarily into area hotels during the weekend after getting word that the University of Texas at San Antonio was shutting down their dorm because mold had been discovered.
The mold was found about three weeks ago. Inspectors noticed a wall collapsing inside one of the rooms at Chisholm Hall, the same residence hall that evacuated about 450 students in May 2001 because of the presence of stachybotrys, a greenish-black slimy mold that can cause respiratory problems.
Officials say they don’t believe that last year’s black mold trouble and this year’s are related.
"Based on what I know, I don’t believe there’s a connection between the two," said Jim Short, president of Century Campus Housing Management Inc., the Houston-based company that manages the building.
Last year, it took nearly three months to clear out the infestation. Students had to leave two days before final exams were to begin, and the hall wasn’t open again until that August.
This year, the students scheduled to live on the dorm’s first floor were notified by mail about the problem. The rest of the students received phone calls Friday when officials realized that their rooms weren’t going to be ready by check-in time Saturday.
Workers replaced wallboard and painted walls in 140 rooms, but the air-conditioning ducts in all 262 rooms had to be cleaned, causing the delay, officials said.
"It started with the rain in July. Water penetrated the walls around the windows," Mr. Short said. "No one will be allowed back until our industrial hygienist gives us the thumbs-up."
Classes begin Monday, and many students agreed that it’s fun living in a hotel but that it could be an inconvenience.
Instead of unloading at Chisholm Hall, Alexis Amaya, an 18-year-old freshman from Friendswood, was issued a room at Comfort Inn near campus.
"I wanted to move in. I wanted to get it all in one trip. Get settled," Ms. Amaya said.
She left her computer at home. Her parents will bring it on the next trip, when she moves for the second time.
There will be shuttle service from the hotels to campus, as well as maid service and free continental breakfast in the mornings.