RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Monday, Richmond Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Tommy Kranz gave 8News a first-hand look at all the insulation that had to be removed from the basement at William Fox Elementary School due to black mold.
Kranz says the principal of the school was notified of the problem by a teacher last week. That’s when they came in, noticed black marks on the insulation and conducted a test. The results showed there was mold, a problem Kranz says they jump on right away.
“We take those seriously because it’s not going to go away,” Kranz said.
Kranz says the insulation has been around these pipes for more than 30 years. He says sweating from the pipes inside the insulation along with dust and dirt combined to create the black mold.
The school system has removed all the insulation with mold and will wipe down and disinfect pipes and the surrounding areas to prevent mold from forming in the future. But the job comes at a huge cost.
“We’re going to spend here about $80,000,” Kranz said. “That $80,000 represents about 5.5 percent of the maintenance and repair budget.”
Kranz says the cost hurts the school system’s ability to take care its 44 plus buildings. He says they have to wait until they’re notified of a potential problem before they run a test.
“We’ve got a limited budget, so I can’t spend those dollars just doing environmental tests,” Kranz added.
So far this year, this is the third school to be tested and have black mold. Kranz says the health and safety of students and faculty are their number one priorities, but the school system will still have to determine if they have enough funds to address problems for the rest of the school year.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.