Lodi, CA – Toxic mold growing in every classroom building at Tokay High School has forced the start of school to be delayed for several weeks and may cost millions to clean up. “Every classroom building has it in one shape or form,” said Lodi Unified School District Supt. Bill Huyett.
Huyett said he could not estimate how much the mold eradication will cost, but it was expected to add millions of dollars to a planned $8-million modernization project that had just begun when the mold was discovered. School officials believe that a flaw in the buildings’ design allowed moisture to leak into the walls, leading to mold growth.
Toxic mold can cause cold-like symptoms such as headaches, sneezing, runny noses, red eyes and skin rashes, according to experts, some molds can cause permanent neurological, psychological, pathological, and immunological damage.
Tokay High Principal Erik Sandstrom said he did not know of any students who had suffered illness caused by the mold. The district hopes to be eligible for emergency state or federal funding to help with the cost of cleanup, Huyett said.
Black mold was discovered last year at Lawrence Elementary School in Lodi. It cost the district $2.9 million in emergency funds to eradicate it from a 10,000-square-foot building of eight classrooms, administration offices and a hallway. The structure had to be stripped down to its studs and rebuilt. By comparison, Tokay High has 60 classrooms in the seven wings that potentially contain mold.
Officials are recommending that the start of school be delayed to Sept. 4 instead of July 30. Many classes may be held in portable buildings behind the campus. Summer school students have been told to report for class at Lodi Middle School.