SHREVEPORT, La. – A major university in Shreveport has had a major problem with mold.
“This was black mold, I’m talking about Stachybotrys chartarum which is a really bad mold, we found that. We found Chaetomium and we have faculty and staff that have health conditions that are documented in the medical and scientific literature as being caused by those molds,” said Brian Salvatore, LSUS chemistry and physics department head.
The molds were growing on the ceilings on every floor of the building including classrooms, faculty offices and in the HVAC system.
“Our building became overrun with mold and the images of that are pretty astounding. It took a lot of pushing to even get them to acknowledge that mold is a health problem. We were suffering everyday, people couldn’t come into the building. People had their physicians writing notes about their conditions,” said Salvatore.
Another current faculty member KTBS spoke with, who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation, likened it to stories out of Hollywood.
“The scientists in movies are always ignored first and I think that’s what they tried to do. The mold is there, its been there for years and I’m finally glad someone’s trying to do something about it,” said a current LSUS faculty member who asked not to be identified.
The science building was shut down in February because of mold.
“LSUS did have a problem involving mold in the science building. One of the things we did was when that was brought forward was to bring in a consultant to look at the problem at the science building and we released the report in its entirety,” said Larry Clark, LSUS chancellor.
But to get to that point was an extraordinary months long challenge, according to the faculty members.
“I felt this atmosphere of shooshing,” said a current faculty member.
“We had a petition and finally a consultant came in and said, yes, the building needs to be closed. Mold and fungal growth was listed in that consultants report a total of 43 times. Yet the administration has done everything in their power to mask the fact that it’s due to mold,” said Salvatore.
“There was nothing that was found that was harmful to life in the building. We brought in experts to take a look at it as third party experts, to see to what extent this is a problem? It was not a cancer causing type of a problem. It was a problem that we decided ultimately we should address and take care of and we did,” said Clark.
The science building has now been closed for several months. The cleanup work was completed on April 5 and the administration expects to have it back open for summer school.