Mold cleanup to mean temp move of town offices

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BELLOWS FALLS — Cleaning up the mold in the town hall offices will mean moving offices into the Town Hall Lower Theater to help expedite the clean up.

Susan Hammond, chairwoman of the Rockingham Select Board, said Thursday the town would not close the town office for the clean up, but move offices downstairs. She said the town was trying to get approval from its insurance from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns to expedite the bid process so the offices could be cleaned as soon as possible. She said the problem was worst on the third floor, where the town's development, planning and zoning, historic preservation and lister's offices are located. She said the mold count was highest in the lister's office, which has the poorest air circulation. She said that all the walls, floors and surfaces in all the offices on the second and third floors will have to be cleaned and the air conditioners will have to be taken apart and cleaned.

Hammond said she didn't know how the cleaner would handle paper materials - such as paper files, documents and books and reports. Hammond said the mold that was discovered in the town office was not the more serious black mold.

Serv-Pro had given the town a bid of $25,000 to $30,000 to clean the offices and air conditioners. Hammond said Serv-Pro bid an hourly rate, rather than a flat rate.

The cause of the mold is still not clear, she said. It could have been the summer's rainy weather, or the stubborn leak in the town hall roof might be a contributing factor. Rain came in to the town hall's clock tower this summer during a particularly fierce summer storm, when rain was falling horizontally, Hammond said. As a result, water came in to the development/historic preservation office.

"We just don't know the cause. It could be the fault of the air conditioning units, or it could be past roof leaks," she said.

During a relatively recent renovation of the town hall and the opera house, the roof was not replaced, Hammond said. She said the town had to get clearance from the insurance arm of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns before awarding the contract to Serv-Pro and starting the cleanup.

"It's going to be quite a process," she said.

Contact Susan Smallheer at ssmallheer@reformer.com or 802 254-2311, ext. 154.

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