After battling mold growth in the basement of Burnett House last spring, Facilities Management is taking steps to ensure that the mold will not return. After sealing the room and repainting the walls did not stop the mold from regrowing, Facilities is installing a dehumidifier system to keep moisture at bay. 

The commercial grade dehumidifier arrived on campus September 23 and will be installed before the end of the week, according to Associate Director of Facilities Operations Jeff Tuttle. 

Mold grows in moist conditions and in addition to its bad smell, it can be hazardous to living conditions.  

“Some people can have a reaction to mold,” Tuttle said. “[But] the issue [in Burnett] is very, very minor and the amount of mold in the basement is very minimal.”

When Facilities was informed of the issue, several employees went to Burnett House, cleaned and sealed the area and painted over the wall they thought was the source of the moisture.

“When [Facilities] is made aware of areas where mold, or anything that may be of harm to students is present, we always respond very quickly and do what is needed for the safety of the students,” said Tuttle.

Tuttle said he went to Burnett  last week and saw no further evidence of mold. As a precaution, though, Facilities decided to install the dehumidifier and to pipe air into the space to keep moisture levels to a minimum.

Initially, there were rumors that a boarded-up section of Burnett’s basement was linked to the mold, but that is not the case. 

Facilities had blocked off a section of the basement for the safety of the residents. In the section behind the boards there is a mechanical area that includes sprinkler systems and other tools that, according to Tuttle, are unsafe for students to access.

Burnett’s laundry room is located right next to the boarded-up area. Facilities changed the entrance to the laundry room and put up a wall to keep students out of the mechanical area. 

“The building of the boards to restrict mechanical supplies and the minimal problem of the mold are completely different issues,” said Tuttle.