Leaks lead to mold in Communications Building

Students examine mold growing on the insulation inside a wall of the Communications Building Feb. 22. “We’re getting rid of the mold and putting in a brand new piece of Sheetrock,” said UNA maintenance painter Larry Allman.

by SGA Beat Writer Jessica Livingston

Facilities Administration and Planning discovered leaks in the Communications Building were causing cosmetic damage, including mold, and began making repairs Feb. 21.

Butler Cain, Department of Communications chair, said he knew the building had problems with leaks, but was unaware of the damage.

“There was water dripping from the ceiling and puddling up in the hall at the beginning of last semester,” Cain said.

Janet McMullen, assistant professor of communications, said the building has had leaks since she arrived at UNA in 1988.

“I just call it the bubonic plague of the walls,” she said. “I have learned to be careful when hanging pictures on my walls. I placed a PVC pipe in between my books and the back wall on my bookshelf to keep them from getting ruined.”

Jeanne Baughman, department of communications administrative assistant, said she sent in a work request in fall 2016.

“Over the summer, we had the Sheetrock in the corner of our office replaced and painted because the water coming through the walls caused the walls to turn a dark shade,” she said. “There are faculty members who have offices on the back walls that have had water leaks.”

The workman from maintenance found the mold when he pulled the wall covering up.

“The insulation got wet,” said UNA maintenance painter Larry Allman. “We don’t yet know how it got wet. Someone saw the Sheetrock coming up from the wall. We’re getting rid of the mold and putting in a brand new piece of Sheetrock.”

He said they use Clorox bleach cleaner to kill the mold. Once the repairs are complete, the mold should not return.

Allman said the repairs are ongoing, and there is no set completion date.

Baughman maintenance did not find the source of the leak.

A professor in the Department of Communications who asked to remain anonymous said another reason there is mold is because the sinks in the photography darkroom labs back up and cause roof and wall damage.