Thursday, April 18, 2024

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Why is the superintendent’s office gutted and empty?

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QUESTION: Why has the superintendent’s office at Central Office been gutted, i.e., taken down to the studs, with no furnishings left? When does ABSS plan to rebuild that portion of the building? And where are Dr. Dain Butler and his assistant, Karen Chandler, working since his office isn’t usable?

ANSWER: In a word, “MOLD!” ABSS public information officer Les Atkins exclaimed in response to an inquiry from The Alamance News Wednesday.

An Alamance News reporter visually confirmed during a visit to the ABSS Central Office earlier this week that the superintendent’s office is bare – meaning there are no walls or furnishings, only interior framing.

“Several offices at Central Services had high concentrations of mold in the walls and ceiling,” Atkins recalled Wednesday. “The PIO office, superintendent, and chief academic office were some of the worst. Those offices adjoin and have exterior windows that were not properly insulated when the building was renovated many years ago, which caused mold to form in the ceilings and along the walls due to condensation.

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“Those offices had built-in cabinetry,” the public information officer continued.  “Those had to be removed as a result of mold behind the cabinets and in the walls.”

Atkins confirmed that Butler’s office and several other administrators’ offices were, indeed, gutted in late September.

Meanwhile, Butler and his executive assistant are working out of what Atkins described as a “temporary office in another part of” Central Office. The public information office is also sharing space with the Human Resources department; and Revonda Johnson, chief academic officer for ABSS, is sharing an office space elsewhere in the building “until the rooms can be restored,” Atkins said, adding that there is no timeframe for those repairs.

School board members approved a contract last fall to pay Builder Services $179,635.33 to remove mold from the Central Office building, in addition to contracting with the same company to perform mold remediation at 31 of the 33 ABSS facilities where mold was discovered late last summer.

Meanwhile, the post-remediation verification (PRV) certificate – i.e., results from testing indoor air samples to determine whether mold remediation was successful – for the school system’s Central Office showed there were no viable fungal spores seen when the building was last tested for mold on September 17, based on a copy of the report that ABSS furnished to the newspaper Wednesday.

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