Parents express concerns about indoor air quality assessment results at Topsail Middle School

HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) —An indoor air quality assessment for Topsail Middle School has just been released.

Parents of Topsail Middle School are not pleased with the results of the indoor air quality assessment posted on the school and district’s webpages.

The EI Group performed the latest indoor air quality assessment at Topsail Middle.

Among the findings, water staining, water damage, and/or suspected visible fungal growth in the 6th grade main building, the 7th and 8th grade buildings, two gyms, and temporary outside classroom buildings.

The indoor carbon dioxide levels in the 7th grade building read above the recommended maximum indoor concentration level.

Mark Fowler has a daughter, who is a 7th grade student at Topsail Middle, and said he is disturbed and disappointed after reading the newly released assessment.

“We’re required by law to send our children to school, but that should be a safe environment, and currently those children are not going to school in a safe environment, –and those teachers, that I’m sure are passionate about education, they’re required to teach in that environment, and frankly it’s just a travesty,” said Mark Fowler, concerned parent.

The assessment also listed water intrusion, elevated moisture conditions, and HVAC system deficiencies are contributing to airborne mold spores, and mold growth impacting indoor air quality in the assessed areas on the school’s campus.

Two other companies contracted by Pender County Schools last year and earlier this year, both found elevated mold spore counts and high carbon dioxide levels at the school.

“Nothing has been done to date. Except, a reassessment in my personal opinion, we’ve done a lot of, –we’ve had a lot of conversation in regards to the issues. We’ve conducted a lot of surveys. The due diligence has been. We know there’s an issue has now been confirmed twice, one in January when they don’t typically have much mold, and one currently,” said Fowler.

Pender County Schools says it will follow all of the recommendations made by the third parties involved in the air quality assessments. Currently allocations for solutions include $3.6 million specifically for HVAC repairs and equipment replacement across all schools, and ESSER funds not used in other areas may be reallocated for this specific need. The budget was approved by the board of education in open session several months ago.

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