The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health did not find any evidence of active water leaks or evidence of mold in the choral room or adjacent band room at New Richmond High School during an inspection March 22.
The inspection was requested by New Richmond superintendent of schools Tom Durbin after several students became ill during a Troubadours class in Room 108 Feb. 8 leading to an evacuation of the school while firemen, air quality experts and Duke Energy investigated possible environmental causes.
No problems were found, but, as a precaution, Durbin closed the room and asked NIOSH to conduct a field investigation of the room.
"We did not see any evidence of active water leaks or mold in any of the evaluated areas," NIOSH said in a preliminary report signed by Todd Niemeier, industrial hygienist for NIOSH, and Dr. Nancy Clark Burton, PhD, NIOSH industrial hygiene team leader.
"We used a thermal imaging camera to inspect the walls for water leaks, and collected spot environmental measurements for temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide," they explained in their letter. "We visually inspected the air handling unit that serves the choral room and the outdoor intakes for the building. We also collected spot environmental measurements in other parts of the building (band room, classrooms on second floor, and second and third floor hallways)."
In addition, NIOSH medical officer Dr. Melody Kawamoto conducted telephone interviews with school officials and employees about reported exposures and health concerns.
Durbin said the district believes the room is safe and the room will be utilized during the 2010/2011 school year.
"We hope the NIOSH report will be sent to us prior to the start of the new school year and will confirm our belief that the room is safe," said Durbin.
"But from our previous tests and the preliminary report from NIOSH, there is nothing wrong with that room other than it's not large enough to accommodate 120 students."