Mold at North raises questions for Kingsport City Schools

A NEW BUILDING IN CRISIS? The mold found at Sullivan North may spell trouble for Kingsport.

Courtesy of Kingsport City Schools

A NEW BUILDING IN CRISIS? The mold found at Sullivan North may spell trouble for Kingsport.

Parker Galloway

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Schools are given high expectations when it comes to their safety and maintenance. However, the amount of tidiness and maintenance does vary between school systems and schools themselves. If not properly taken care of, a school could face a slew of problems.

Sullivan North High School is one such example. Though maintained, the school still faced a notable issue earlier this year: black mold. On February 9, Wingfield Environmental tested the air in each classroom and the office. Black mold spores were found in four locations, specifically one of the band practice rooms, a home living area, room 227, and room 901.

Sullivan County closed North High School on February 14 and 15 to clean up the mold before allowing students and teachers to return. New tests on February 17 found no more mold spores. Although most commonly found outdoors, mold can sometimes grow inside buildings if certain conditions, like moisture, are present.

Although it is fairly easy to combat mold growth, avoiding mold growth to begin with should be of high importance to avoid problems for student and faculty alike. Exposure to mold can lead to irritation of the lungs, eyes, skin, throat and nose. In more severe cases, fever and difficulty breathing are possible. School could be delayed, or even closed, for days as those who have been exposed seek medical aid.

The growth of mold could be devastating to a school. A lack of maintenance could, metaphorically, eat away at a school. Another problem is that many students just think that schools are merely another roof above their heads.

However, what happens when the roof leaks water? Students wouldn’t enjoy water falling on them as they do their work, would they? Leaking roofs are also a common issue that many schools have to deal with.

Although North High School has had these problems in the recent past, it is not the only school to have had them. John Sevier Middle School has also had problems, one of them in particular being leaking roofs. This was resolved with roof repair and without any mold issues.

The issues with mold spores have been eradicated in Sullivan North, but there still is an important question: Is the school maintained well enough? The Sullivan North High School building has recently been purchased by the Kingsport City School system. Sullivan County is building a new high school, and, once it is built, the current Sevier Middle School will move to the North building.

If the maintenance is kept up and tests are performed regularly to prevent outbreaks of mold, leaking roofs, or other common problems, then all is well. However, if these problems continue for students and staff, then the Kingsport City Schools system should seriously evaluate the future of the building.

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