Lewis and Clark Community College has closed areas of its historic Main Complex on the Godfrey Campus to address safety concerns after discovery of mold.
The issues are the result of the building’s natural aging process and limited use throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, officials said in a release Friday night.
“As our campus re-opened following nearly 18 months of virtual and hybrid learning, we welcomed team members and students back in to physical spaces and discovered numerous issues in the Main Complex causing our campus leadership team to reassess use of certain spaces for teaching, learning, and office work,” President Ken Trzaska said in an email Wednesday.
Primary areas of concern include the third and fourth floors of Baldwin and Caldwell Halls, which are experiencing issues with outdated HVAC systems, moisture and humidity, which in some spaces has led to the presence of mold discovered in air quality testing.
Although classrooms with mold detected in air quality testing have already been closed, and classes shifted to other areas of campus, the third and fourth floors of both buildings will be closed for the foreseeable future, effective Aug. 30. Classes, offices and other services are either being moved to other buildings or shifted into the online and remote environment. These moves have been completed as of Aug 27.
Students who have classes scheduled in those areas this semester should check their lc.edu email inboxes for further instructions.
“The safety and wellbeing of our students and team members is our top priority,” said Vice President of Administration Lori Artis. “We regret this inconvenience, especially so early in the semester, but our team is working hard to ensure that we can move forward without interrupting the quality of our students’ academic experience.”
Trzaska said the college will develop a regular schedule for environmental testing for all other areas of the Main Complex, but that there is no concern at the present time for other areas of campus or the Main Complex.
“Our decision to close these floors is out of concern for the health and wellness of our campus team and our students,” Trzaska said. “Following recent air quality testing in other spaces, we do not have any reason to believe there is imminent concern for other portions of the Main Complex, but we will continue to test, monitor, and make adjustments as needed throughout the academic year.”
Artis said the Main Complex has been in need of renovation for many years, requiring mechanical services, electrical equipment, plumbing, and HVAC systems. In 2019, Lewis and Clark was budgeted to receive $37.5 million through the Illinois Capital Bill to restore the complex, but has not yet received any funding.
“I am working diligently with lawmakers to accelerate this process given our new health and safety concerns in order to address these ongoing issues that continue to plague our ability to provide students and team members with not only state-of-the-art classrooms, but most importantly, healthy and safe teaching and learning environments,” Trzaska said.
Anyone with concerns should contact the L&C President’s Office at (618) 468-2001.