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Housing closes Miller Hall due to mold

by UofL Today last modified Oct 10, 2012 01:34 PM

Housing and Residence Life is closing Miller Hall and moving 270 residents because of elevated levels of mold spores in the building.

Housing earlier today notified Miller Hall residents and has scheduled meetings with them to provide information and help them relocate.

Most affected students will be relocated by 6 p.m. Oct. 12 to vacant rooms in UofL-affiliated housing or hotel rooms near campus. They have been advised they must have their belongings out of the rooms by 6 p.m. Oct. 14. Miller Hall residents from the Louisville area are being asked to voluntarily move home with their parents or guardians. The freshman residence hall is expected to be closed to students for the remainder of the fall semester.

“We recognize the inconvenience and disruption this will cause the students who live in Miller Hall,” UofL President James Ramsey said. “But our top priority is the health and well-being of our students. We’re doing our best to ensure they can continue their studies in a healthy environment.”

The university is helping students clean and move their belongings to their new residences. UofL also is adjusting meal plan and housing fees for students who are returning home and for those who no longer will be living on campus. Provost Shirley Willihnganz has asked faculty to be sympathetic to and supportive of the Miller Hall students who may need to request excused absences or extended due dates on assignments.

“This situation is unfortunate, and the timing makes it even worse for these students,” she said in an email to faculty and staff. “Please help us help them as they deal with this issue during this vital first semester of their college life.”

Employees from Housing and Residence Life and the Department of Environmental Health and Safety discovered mold in a few Miller Hall rooms following a student report in late September. The university hired a team of environmental specialists to inspect the rooms and public areas of traditional residence halls while students were on fall break beginning Oct. 5. The visual inspections and subsequent air sampling found elevated levels of mold spores in many areas of Miller Hall.

The mold spores have been preliminarily identified as aspergillus and penicillium, which are common in the environment. At normal levels, they are not a health hazard for most people but can be irritating and cause problems for people with allergies, asthma, respiratory problems or mold sensitivity. However, the levels of mold spores detected in portions of Miller Hall were high, and officials decided to move all students until the building can be completely cleaned and the source of the mold growth found and remediated.

All UofL students, faculty and staff were notified of the closing via email from President James Ramsey.

Miller Hall is a coed, freshman dormitory with 135 rooms. It was built in 1964.

UofL students who have questions about the relocation can call 852-1250. Faculty or staff with questions can email the Office of the Vice President for Business Affairs.

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