KMS Construction Update 10/6/17-Two Week Construction/Renovation Lookahead-Click Here
November 10, 2017
Dear Klinger Community;
I would like to follow up on the recent concerns at Klinger Middle School. As a result, of a lot of misinformation, rumormongering, and misuse of social media, we held two community meetings (one with staff and one with the greater community) in an attempt to provide accurate, independent and verifiable information. Both meetings were fairly well attended, and I am hopeful that they were helpful in allaying the concerns of faculty, parents, and students.
Originally, we were worried or concerned about three main topics: a ceiling tile collapse that occurred in close proximity to a wall collapse as well as rumors of mold. A fourth concern emerged, which is the presence of CO2 at the low end of the “acceptable” range in a couple of rooms.
First, the ceiling tile collapse was a result of water incursion, which was a result of the ongoing roof replacement project. While not ideal, these things happen and the roof area has been secured, the tiles replaced and the water dampened parts of the school that have been dried out and ventilated. The fans that were used to speed the drying process had some type of air freshener attached which will not occur again out of concern for allergic reactions to the scent.
Second, the wall collapse situation. This was a surprise event as no one expects a wall to collapse. This occurred in the girls’ locker room setting where concrete mortar joints had experienced some deterioration due to exposure to constant water (showers), humidity and chlorine (pool) since the school’s construction in 1965. These particular, non-load bearing partition walls would not rise to today’s construction standards. Because of the collapse, both Klinger and sister school Log College were completely evaluated by a forensic professional engineer experienced in structural engineering. On November 14, the Board will be presented with the report and a potential solution that will rectify the issue and actually, in the long term, improve the esthetics of the schools. In the meantime, we have erred on the side of caution and removed students and staff from any possible area that we are not 100% happy about until such time that we have a seal of approval from independent authorities as to the structural integrity. We expect to have completed this work in the next three to four months.
The third issue was reports of mold. There are thousands of types of mold in the world and if you take samples of the air outside and within your home, it will find mold and mold spores. Last spring, because of the ensuing construction project, we began testing the air quality at Klinger. We have tested routinely since then and will continue to do so for the duration of the construction project. There is no visible signs of mold, and mold spores have been in concentrations below outside mold spore counts. Furthermore, antiquated equipment and broken
air handlers, machinery that might create a situation where mold would occur, have been removed. We are posting those results on the Klinger web site and will continue to post them there. Should we ever exceed the “safe window or margins” for air quality, we will take immediate steps to address the situation promptly and satisfactorily.
A fourth situation that emerged from these meetings was that of Carbon Dioxide levels that were reported as being excessively high in some areas. A few things about Carbon Dioxide: it is a common gas in the atmosphere and is required for plant life; it is a natural byproduct of human and animal respiration, fermentation, chemical reactions and combustion of fossil fuel and wood; it is non-flammable; and CO2 poisoning is rare—SCUBA Divers have to watch out for it after deep dives (the Bends).
Some information about CO2 levels that we should keep in mind include that 400ppm (parts per million) is the current average CO2 level on the planet, ASHRAE recommends a 1,000 ppm limit for office buildings and classrooms (Reynolds, our construction company, is working to get us below 1,000 ppm) and drowsiness can occur at 10,000 ppm*. We have had no reports of anything close to 10,000 ppm, we have one possible rating of around 2,000— not ideal but it will get better as we continue to balance and commission the new ventilation system.
In conclusion, some of the next steps the District is taking moving forward are:
Monthly construction reports will be added to a new section on the Klinger website Monthly air testing reports will be added to the new section on the Klinger website Regular and random testing of CO2 levels will begin immediately and reports posted on the Klinger website The wall mitigation project will begin next week assuming Board approval Continued evaluation of the building by independent experts will continue including Barry Isett & Associates, the Township and Reynolds Construction
Lastly, the District remains committed to full, open and transparent communication about these and any other issues that arise. Should you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact me directly, Mr. Chris Berdnik, Chief Financial Officer at 215-441-6000, Ext. 11010, Mr. Robert Whartenby, Director of Facilities at 215441-6000, Ext. 11013, Mr. Tom Golden, Facilities Supervisor at 215-441-6000, Ext. 11021 or Mr. Travis Bloom, Klinger Middle School Principal at 215-364-5950, Ext. 13001. .
I want to thank the teachers and parents that were able to attend either meeting or in some cases both meetings in our continued mutual quest to make Klinger Middle School a fantastic place to be a student and educator for decades to come.
Dr. David E. Baugh Superintendent of Schools
*Information from CO2Meter.com/CO2 Measurements Specialists