- Associated Press - Sunday, October 18, 2020

SEABROOK, S.C. (AP) - Officials for a South Carolina school district say it could cost up to $3 million to fix damage and prevent the future spread of mold that was discovered in two buildings.

Construction workers found the mold from high water activity inside the walls of a Beaufort County elementary school and a middle school while replacing classroom air-conditioning units, officials said.

District spokeswoman Candace Bruder told the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette that the mold was likely caused by “faulty air-conditioning installations” performed two decades ago.

Staff at both schools were asked to work remotely upon its discovery in late September. An environmental consulting firm later confirmed the mold was not a danger to building occupants. Students returned to the buildings for hybrid classes Oct. 5.

“A student can’t go anywhere near the areas of concern, and there is no air mixing from that area to the rest of the building,” Robert Oetting, the district’s chief operations officer, said this week while describing the repair plan.

The plan calls for replacing outdoor facades, installing drainage systems and working on HVAC units, among other fixes. Repairs at the middle school were expected to be less extensive than those at the elementary school, according to Oetting.

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