In a sudden move with virtually no prior notice, the city of Galt closed the Boys and Girls Club indefinitely after mold was detected in part of the city-owned building.
City Manager Ted Anderson said Wednesday it hasn’t been determined whether or not the mold is toxic.”There’s good mold and bad mold,” Anderson said. “Not all mold is bad. We’re taking precautionary measures.”
Anderson said an expert in mold is analyzing the substance to determine whether it is toxic and what measures are needed to insure safety. He said he didn’t know when he would get the report from the mold expert. “The facility will be temporarily shut down until all tests are complete,” according to a written statement by Shane McLatchey, executive director of the Galt Boys and Girls Club. “We anticipate this delay to be at least three weeks.”
A city Parks and Recreation Department employee discovered what he thought might be mold early last week and reported it to his supervisor, Boyce Jeffries, the park and recreation director, Anderson said. Jeffries then notified Anderson. Tuesday morning, the mold expert hired by the city said in what Anderson termed a verbal “preliminary report” that the substance was indeed mold. However, the city didn’t close the building until Anderson asked the City Council for authorization to do so Tuesday night. “The City Council is part of the operation,” Anderson said, explaining why he couldn’t take administrative action earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, children from City Tots Preschool and the Boys and Girls Club took part in activities in the building on Tuesday. Activities for the some 100 to 200 children who typically participate in Boys and Girls Club activities each day have been moved to Fairsite Elementary School, a little more than a block away from the club building at Caroline and Chabolla avenues. The Boys and Girls Club’s morning program has been moved to the former location of Breakaway Sports on Industrial Drive.
“We are going to make it work,” McLatchey said after an emergency meeting of the Boys and Girls Club board at noon Wednesday. The council discussion was closed to the public. Anderson, Vice Mayor Tim Raboy and Councilman Darryl Clare wouldn’t say what grounds under the Ralph M. Brown Act, California’s open-meeting law, warranted a closed-session discussion. “I’ll refer that to the attorney,” Anderson said.
City Attorney Ruthann Ziegler was not available for comment late Wednesday afternoon. Raboy and Clare deferred comment to Anderson. Mayor Bob Kraude was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
Meanwhile, the city-operated City Tots Preschool program for children 3 and 4 years old, also held at the Boys and Girls Club building, has been canceled for the rest of the week. The program will resume Monday at Littleton Community Center, 420 Civic Drive.
City and Boys and Girls Club employees sat in metal chairs outside the building’s front door Wednesday to inform children and their parents that the City Tots Preschool program has been canceled for the week. They also informed Boys and Girls Club participants about its activities being moved to Fairsite and Breakaway Sports. Until the Boys and Girls Club building is reopened, club activities will be held at Fairsite. On Wednesday, the multipurpose room and playground area were used.
With a major storm predicted for today and Friday, plans were made to open up some classrooms for student activities, McLatchey said. June Livingston, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department, said the county has no regulatory authority over mold in public buildings.
Ross Farrow : News-Sentinel staff writer