PLAINVIEW – Hale County has joined the ranks of counties and schools in the area battling against mold, but local officials say they are fortunate their problem hasn’t grown as big as some. “We’ve got ours pretty well under control,” said Judge Bill Hollars. “I guess we’re pretty lucky we got on it quick and got it taken care of.”
The mold in Hale County’s annex, which houses county agents and juvenile probation, isn’t the toxic black mold variety – known as Stachybotrys chartarum – that has plagued several buildings in the area, Hollars said.
County officials first thought they had a problem in the building last month when employees complained of respiratory problems. The county commission hired a testing company, which confirmed the existence of mold, but not the Stachybotrys variety.
The county moved in several air scrubbers at the beginning of this month, which has reduced the level of airborne mold to acceptable levels, Hollars said. However, several agencies in the area haven’t gotten off as lucky.
Moore County was forced to close the Lew Haille Annex in May of 2001 when Stachybotrys chartarum was discovered inside. The county has since decided to tear down the building and erect a new annex.
Perryton Independent School District also has struggled with black mold, which forced the closure of a vocational center after it was discovered in March. The district has completed a cleanup and is now looking for bids to install a new roof.
Hale County is fortunate to have already planned for a new annex prior to the discovery of the mold. Hollars said they will continue to use the air scrubbers to keep the mold counts down until renovations on the old Sears building are complete.
Once the renovations are done, a date which Hollars said has yet to be determined, the city will move the offices out of the current annex.
by Greg Cunningham, Amarillo Globe News