The University of Louisville will move 270 freshmen from its Miller Hall dorms following the discovery of visible mold spores in 80 percent of the rooms.
Officials are baffled by the finding and more facility closures are possible.
The decision to close Miller Hall came Wednesday morning after several mold spores were found over the fall break which began Oct. 5, said Phillip Bressoud, U of L’s director of student health.
The team from the school’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety was following a student report in late September that found mold in a separate facility.
“This is not where the original complaint was to be quite honest with you about that,” said U of L’s student housing director Shannon Staten. “We made a decision to be safe and to do the best we could for the students and so we investigated,” she said.
Miller Hall is so far the only closure but officials say they’ll continue investigating other areas, and close them for cleaning as needed.
Miller Hall is expected to be closed for the remainder of the fall semester while the university eliminates the mold. All students will be moved to affiliate housing or hotels free of charge. Students are also being encouraged to move back in with parents if possible.
Mold needs water to grow, said Bressoud. It’s unclear to school officials at this time where that water could be coming from.
“The first of September, none of this was here and finding mold on hard surfaces a month later, something dramatically changed and we’re not sure what that is yet,” said Bressoud.
The spores found are common in the environment and at normal levels they are not considered a health hazard for most people. But individuals with asthma, allergies or respiratory problems could be affected.
U of L has treated around 14 students at its health center from Miller Hall since the semester began and none of those students had any relatable health issues, he said.
Officials say it’s the goal to have all students out of Miller Hall by Friday night and for the remainder of their belongings to be moved by this Sunday.