Chase Cerbin, Staff Writer (ccerbin@wwc)
Carson is getting less moldy every day.
“Last week we began cleaning the contents of the building,” said Steve Farrell, supervisor of design and construction. This meant transporting the furniture, books and keepsakes inside Carson to a warehouse in Arden, NC, which specializes in mold removal.
“Thursday, we are going to start bringing [clean] stuff back,” said Farrell, who is responsible for making recommendations to reoccupy Carson. “All the contents should be cleaned by around Christmas time.”
Along with Carson’s moldy contents, the building itself must still be cleaned.
“We have been working on that [structural cleaning] too,” said Farrell. “We have been wiping down the walls and vacuuming the floors.”
The college recently learned that the type of mold in Carson does not cause long-term health effects. They hired a renowned mycologist from Duke University to test the spores and report back on his findings.
“You don’t want to hang out with this type of mold, but it won’t kill you,” said Farrell. “I did not want to go in the building, but now that I heard it isn’t going to kill me, I go in it.”
While it is essential to get the contents and structure mold-free, the most crucial step is making sure the mold will not resurface in the future.
“The making-sure-it-doesn’t-happen-again stuff is important,” said Farrell. “This includes water-proofing the foundation and keeping water out.”
Once all this work has been completed, an hygienist will retest the mold levels of the building.
“If it is all clear, we reoccupy the building in time for the fall semester,” said Farrell. “We are not going to put anybody back in there if it has not tested clear.”
While work is getting done, Farrell does not expect classes to be held in Carson until next year.
This may seem like a long time to wait, but the only other option would be to demolish Carson and construct a new building. This is not the first time the question has been raised.
“It is not a secret to say that a number of individuals believe that Carson is at the end of its productive life,” said Dean of Work Ian Robertson last year. “It doesn’t have very good access [for] anybody who has any kind of disability.”
In the past, Staff Forum has discussed the potential demolishing of Carson and construction of a new building. Cost is a concern; Some staff and faculty have wondered if Carson is worth fixing if it will most likely be replaced soon afterward.
The problem is that designing and constructing a new building is not a quick process.
“It would take at least three, or probably four, years to design, fund raise and construct a replacement building,” said Farrell. “That would be the best-case scenario. We cannot go without that building for that length of time.”
The college has agreed to go ahead with the mold removal for Carson.
“It has become clear in the past few weeks that is is realistic to put it back together,” said Farrell. “[Carson] may very well get replaced, but we got to get it back. We have some professors that are two to an office and we have had to compromise classroom space.”
As for when the college decides to replace Carson, college officials want to do it without feeling rushed.
“When we do replace Carson, we want to do it on our terms,” said Farrell. “We can’t go into it in a reactionary mode. We want to do it thoughtfully, carefully and have it be well designed.”
There are hints that the school has been thinking about what sort of structure may replace Carson.
“When Carson gets replaced, if it gets replaced, it will likely be one of the greenest buildings in North America.” said Farrell. “It takes a lot of time to plan a green building and this time of panic is not the time to build it.”