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Part of odor cause eradicated

December 1, 2011

Wapakoneta City Schools Superintendent Keith Horner

Before Christmas, at least one possible source of an irritating odor is expected to be eradicated at Cridersville Elementary School.
Crews are working this week to put sealer down on floors in affected rooms where carpet had been laid.
“It’s designed to seal in any off-gasing odors coming from the concrete,” Wapakoneta City Schools Superintendent Keith Horner said.
He said with the carpet and adhesive in several rooms, including the music room, office and library, the smell seems to have disappeared.
With the sealer in place and carpet relaid, rooms impacted as crews work to remove a smell that has plagued the new school since last spring should be put back together before the end of the year.
“We’re fighting who’s going to pay for it,” Horner told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “We don’t feel it should be our responsibility since the wrong adhesive was applied by the general contractor.”
Horner said with the state and the Ohio School Facilities Commission’s support they are first concentrating on getting the problem fixed to prevent any additional interruption to the education process and then will continue to fight for the contractor to cover the costs, which to this point are still unknown.
A second issue also has came up with district administrators believing there may be two distinct odors present in the school caused by two separate problems.
Horner said there is some concern that a second odor, not related to the adhesive, may be coming from the air handling system, but that can’t be proven until temperatures warm up again outside, causing the system to cool and dehumidify.
He said contractors believe the the air handling system may have been impacted by the use of the incorrect carpet adhesive.
“The exact reason we have not identified yet,” Horner said. “The real test will be if we can get through the school year with no more odors.”
In the meantime, as the concrete floors are being sealed, air filters and recovery wheels also are being cleaned.
“We’re going to continue to monitor it and be very sensitive to needs,” Horner said. “It’s frustrating because we’re not there and we can’t get it solved fast enough.”
Despite a few complaints of mild irritation and headaches from staff believing the cause to be from the smell, Horner said there have been no major medical concerns and nothing has been traced back as being directly related to the odor.
“It’s been a long road and unfortunately we may have solved only half the problem,” Horner said.

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