Water infiltration near entryway at Coleytown Middle cause for more mold investigation
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the money requested by the Board of Education for mold remediation was for additional work. The appropriation was a reimbursement for part of the roughly $700,000 the Board of Education has already spent on mold remediation.
WESTPORT — Additional investigation into water seepage in the front entrance of Coleytown Middle School is under way, according to Westport Public Schools’ Business Operations Director Elio Longo.
“We believe at this time that we have addressed all of the identified mold concerns and issues at Coleytown Middle School,” Longo told the board at its Wednesday meeting. “What remains at this time are some water infiltration problems around the front entrance that I have a team that is investigating at this time.”
Longo said after the meeting that, at this point, no mold had been discovered near the front entrance. The work to resolve the water infiltration problems may include replacing masonry repainting and window work, Longo said, though the investigation is ongoing and the potential cost is unknown.
The Board of Finance unanimously approved Wednesday an appropriation of $286,605 for “the additional mold remediation incurred at Coleytown Middle School,” according to the meeting’s agenda. The appropriation reimburses the Board of Education for money it spent to eradicate the mold.
The Board of Education has spent $704,307 to eradicate the mold problem at Coleytown. Work began in August 2016 and school officials originally estimated that work would be complete by the end of that year. The man initially hired to test and eradicate the mold, Michael Zubarev— a convicted felon and environmental consultant from Norwalk-based Brooks Environmental — was fired in February 2017 after school administrators learned of Zubarev’s 2010 larceny and conspiracy charges. Stamford-based environmental firm Hygenix Inc. was hired to replace Zubarev.
As work progressed, more mold-infested areas were found and the scope and cost increased quickly. In total, mold was found and remediated in 28 classrooms and two major hallways at Coleytown Middle.
A classroom and hallway were last remediated during winter break of the 2017-18 school year.
According to Mark Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District, mold could trigger asthma-attacks and other cold-like symptoms.
“Is this the end of the mold, other than the doorway?” Board of Finance member Michael Rea wondered, though Longo did not respond to questions before the board voted.
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