Carpeting to be pulled in more classrooms
Tonganoxie school officials have accelerated their timeline for replacement of carpeting in elementary school classrooms.
This weekend, the carpet in three or four more classrooms will be pulled and replaced with tile, according to Superintendent Richard Erickson.
"There are some students who have been called to our attention in other classrooms who have sensitive situations, too," Erickson said, adding that district officials received telephone calls after a story on the classrooms appeared in last week's edition of The Mirror.
In the past few weeks, the school district has removed carpet from three classrooms in a wing of the elementary school that was constructed in 1988. For several years, high humidity and carbon dioxide levels have plagued that 12-room wing as well as Tonganoxie Junior High School. Both the junior high and the elementary school addition were constructed at the same time.
The high humidity has helped promote the growth of mold in the classrooms, and parents have expressed concern about their children's health.
Erickson said he's hopeful additional work at the elementary school can be completed during spring break in March. And then the district's attention will turn to the junior high.
"We want to try to really hit that hard this summer," he said. "We want to clean the ducts and vents and replace the floor tile in 10 to 12 classrooms."
In addition, school officials hope a computerized air flow system will help in the elementary school. It will monitor humidity readings 24 hours a day, and will automatically adjust air flow in classrooms. The district plans to install three of these at the elementary school, at a cost of $2,200 each. The cost of replacing carpet with tile costs an estimated $1,500 per room.
In some junior high school and elementary school classrooms, the district has installed dehumidifiers and air purifiers. In addition, air ducts in the elementary school wing have been cleaned.
The district spent about $25,000 this school year trying to address the problem. And Erickson estimated last week that it would spend at least another $90,000 this year.
Erickson said district officials are not sure what is causing the moisture problems in either school.
"We don't," he said. "We really wish we did. The moisture's there, and our priority right now is to bring it down to a level that is manageable."