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First Semester Air Quality Monitoring at Ashley Academy

December 21, 2018 - It’s been 4 months since students and staff re-entered the newly renovated Ashley Academy.  Since school started with the nearly $1.5 million in renovations, which included new HVAC units, new roofing, and a host of other improvements, WS/FCS Operations staff have continued weekly inspections on air quality, humidity, and other factors that could cause mold growth.

Over the past few months, a Certified Indoor Environmentalist who is also certified in Mold Remediation on the WS/FCS Operations team, along with other members of the HVAC team, have randomly monitored these factors within Ashley Academy classrooms:

  • Humidity
  • Temperature Range
  • CO2 Goals
  • Building Infrastructure and Maintenance
  • HVAC Unit Inspections and Cleanings

The results have been favorable, and the entire collection of test results can be found within this link.

During the warmer months, the new HVAC units that control indoor humidity have proven to keep humidity ranges in the 50 to 55% range, which is not conducive for mold growth. During the cooler months, the humidity can fall lower due to outside air humidity ranges also dropping.

Classrooms have maintained temperatures between 72 and 76 degrees during the warmer months and between 68 and 72 degrees during the winter months.

CO2 levels below 2000 ppm (parts per million) have also been maintained.  These levels represent how much outside air flow is being introduced into the classroom spaces on a regular basis. In the few areas that showed readings higher than the desired level, adjustments to the HVAC system were made to maintain the desired range.

Because mold is present naturally in the environment, experts maintain that controlling the temperature and humidity along with ensuring constant outside air exchange means the conditions for mold growth are drastically reduced.

As part of the on-going improvements, WS/FCS Operations will continue:

  • Building Inspections: Facilities staff will conduct a building inspection every two weeks to ensure that conditions are maintained and cleaning staff is performing per district guidelines.
  • Unit Inspections: HVAC staff will inspect units and change filters every three months. The process includes inspecting coils, interior and exterior parts, and drain pans.

The Operations and administrative staff at Ashley have shared the on-going results with staff as part of the continued meetings with the staff-appointed workgroup.  Since its inception last school year, this group has included school staff, teachers, and Operations personnel to review information, work updates, work orders, and test results from internal and external groups.

At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, the workgroup agreed WS/FCS employees could perform the continuous testing. On December 4, 2018, the most recent results were shared with the workgroup, along with building inspection information and all work orders submitted this year related to Ashley.

After looking through the information provided, the workgroup is pleased and shared positive comments regarding the building’s feel, comfort, smell, humidity, and cleanliness. Because of the obvious environmental and facility changes, staff recommended that the workgroup move from monthly to quarterly meetings. During those meetings, WS/FCS Operations staff will share test results from the previous 3 months of testing. This process will continue through the 2018-2019 school year, and, if conditions remain favorable, the workgroup will dissolve after this year.