Monday, September 26, 2022


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No Insurance Money for Mold Cleanup
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            The Upper Perkiomen School District will not receive any money from its insurance company to help mitigate the cost of mold cleanup at the high school. District officials have paid more than $1.474 million out of the Capital Reserve account to five outside vendors who completed cleanup and remediation at the school, located at 2 Walt Road in Pennsburg.

            Steps were taken to help ensure the school does not have a problem of this magnitude again, according to Nicole Gum, a communications specialist for the district.

            Sandra Kassel, the district's business administrator, submitted the bill to the insurance in November. School officials learned that they weren't getting any reimbursement in December, according to Gum. Board members learned of the decision in mid-December in an email sent from district officials, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

            The district's commercial policy covers mold when caused by fire, lightning, flood or a specified cause of loss as defined by the policy, according to an email message received Monday from Gum. She explained in the message that "this loss was not caused by fire, lightning, flood or one of the specified causes of loss."

            According to Gum, district officials paid BELFOR USA – a disaster recovery and property restoration company with local offices in Allentown and Exton – more than $1.147 million. They also paid 1 Source Safety & Health, an Exton company that offers occupational health and safety consulting & training services, $15,974.10. Rankin Inc., of Chalfont, was paid $10,600 by school officials to rent 20 one-ton air conditioning units. United Rentals, an equipment company, was paid $10,600. Additionally, district officials paid Wm. Henderson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. – a Broomall business – $296,411 to install new ductwork

            District officials closed the school for a week in September to complete the proper cleanup of mold and make equipment repairs. Crews from 1Source and BELFOR, treated the mold and moisture problems which mostly impacted classrooms in the 100 and 200 wings, as well as the guidance and the main office.

            Several factors led to the mold infestation, including the condition of the coils utilized in the HVAC system as well as heat waves that last several months instead of several weeks, according to Ray Felix, of BELFOR Property Restoration. During the board's Sept. 13 public meeting, Felix recommended that the district develop a three to five-year plan to bring that infrastructure up to date in order to better contend with the new conditions.

            Board President Kerry Drake described the episode as an unfortunate occurrence. Drake suggested that the Facilities Committee develop a series of recommendations to prevent future outbreaks at the high school or other buildings in the district.


            John Sheeran, the district's director of facilities and operations, told Drake that he and the head custodian at each school conducted a visual search and a "white-glove inspection and found nothing."







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