MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia University has released a statement to 12 News following a number of complaints alleging mold and poor conditions in the Summit Hall student residence on the Downtown Campus.
Multiple students and parents of students have reached out to 12 News regarding mold issues in dorm rooms, claiming that WVU officials have not adequately addressed them.
Other concerned parents have taken to social media to share their experiences in a Facebook group called “Parents of Summit Hall.” In the group, parents have said that their child became sick from staying in the halls due to poor air quality, and others claimed that reoccurring moisture has caused bug and mold issues. However, none of these reports have been confirmed by official sources.
Another parent, Mike Meinert, told 12 News that he has reached out to both WVU and the Monongalia County Health Department (MCHD) about the issues in his son’s room at Summit Hall. MCHD Environmental Health Sanitarian Joe Lawson told Meinert that he checked hallways in the dorm and one room on the 7th floor, and while he saw evidence of a water leak and cleanup which took place on Oct. 4, he did not find any evidence of mold. The response concluded by saying, “I am not denying there may be areas of mold but to this point I have not identified a systemic problem in the entire building.”
Meinert also told 12 News that he has hired an outside environmental firm to take 20 samples from his son’s room. Results on those samples have not been returned at this time.
Several flooding incidents have been reported in Summit Hall, including in 2018, 2021 and earlier this year in October 2022.
West Virginia University released the following statement to 12 News on Oct. 12, 2022:
Some students and parents recently have expressed concerns to West Virginia University about mold in Summit Hall and the Evansdale Residential Complex (ERC). WVU responded to several similar inquiries last year from students living in Summit Hall and the ERC.
The University is committed to providing a safe learning and living environment for our students, and we take these very concerns seriously. Each inquiry has been investigated within 24 to 48 hours after a work order was submitted.
As with last year, all inspections to date this fall have determined there are no significant or widespread mold issues in the residence halls. WVU has completed a thorough investigation of more than 200 residential spaces in Summit Hall and the ERC throughout the past year and has determined these facilities are safe and do not have any significant or widespread mold issues.
The Monongalia County Health Department also recently visited and toured Summit Hall specifically and did not find or suspect any systemic mold problems at the facility.
Most of the time, our investigations found dirt combined with high moisture (e.g., condensation on a dusty air vent) and not mold.
In those few instances where mold or mildew was discovered, we believe it was the result of increased outside airflow in buildings as part of COVID-19 safety protocols coupled with high-humidity weather over the course of several successive days or instances where mold or mildew developed after students placed furniture in front of an air system return vent, tampered with the HVAC equipment in the room, left windows open for prolonged periods or placed wet or damp clothing or towels on the floor, bathroom or closet of the residence. We encourage students to avoid these activities.
WVU’s Custodial Operations team thoroughly cleans our residential spaces prior to move-in, and we maintain them throughout the semester. Sometimes, however, residence hall spaces can accumulate allergens, dust, dirt, mildew and sometimes even mold if appropriate protocols are not followed.
We encourage students to keep their space well-maintained and clean and control the climate in their rooms. These steps should decrease allergens and help mitigate any allergy symptoms or other situations from arising.
Students who have concerns about mold or mildew in their room are being instructed to submit a work order. When a work order is received, WVU’s Environmental Health and Safety team will perform a visual inspection of the residence and tests the air quality for 5-micron and 10-micron particles along with other assessments to ensure the air quality falls within standard parameters.WVU Executive Director of Communications, April Kaull
Other reports of mold in residence halls at WVU have been made in the past. Last year, WVU released a statement to 12 News after reports of students developing symptoms from a “mold-like substance” in air conditioning units.