SAN ANTONIO — After getting word that University of Texas at San Antonio administrators were shutting down their dorm following the discovery of mold, students began settling temporarily into area hotels.
The mold was discovered 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 don’t believe 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 the following 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 their rooms weren’t going to be ready by check-in time Saturday.
Sheet rock was replaced and walls painted 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,” Short said. “No one will be allowed back until our industrial hygienist gives us the thumbs up.”
Classes begin Monday, and many students agreed it’s fun living in a hotel, but said it could be an inconvenience. Instead of unloading at Chisholm Hall, Alexis Amaya, an 18-year-old freshman from Friendswood near Houston was issued a room at Comfort Inn near UTSA. “I wanted to move in. I wanted to get it all in one trip. Get settled,” Amaya said in today’s editions of the San Antonio Express-News. She left her computer at home. Her parents will bring it on the next trip, when Amaya 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. Officials said students could possibly move in to the residence halls as soon as today, but that’s “cautiously optimistic.”