Christenson teams with college to ensure mold-free dorm for students.
The scene would be familiar to anyone who’s ever been on a summer college visit: An empty dormitory. Room after room with beds and desks. Lounges with couches and chairs.
The only difference was the trained professionals with their protective suits and special equipment. Oh … and it wasn’t summer.
While Hastings College students enjoyed their winter break, Christenson Cleaning and Restoration was hard at work ensuring that Taylor Hall was free of mold.
Charlie Christenson, who owns the company with his father, Eric, applauded the college for quickly consulting the certified mold-remediation experts at Christenson.
“They were very proactive in getting it taken care of,” he said of the college.
“It was early in the semester that we started receiving reports and noticing the signs and symptoms ourselves,” said Brian Hessler, director of student engagement/operations at Hastings College.
College officials immediately investigated the matter. They consulted with professionals and visited with students. Some students were moved to other housing on campus, while others were able to finish out the fall semester at Taylor Hall.
The women’s dorm, built in 1938, has a capacity of 94 students.
Air samples were taken in multiple rooms on each floor of the dormitory, said Dakota Soucie, Christenson project manager, who is certified in mold remediation through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).
“The air samples showed elevated spore counts,” he said. They also showed different species than the control samples from outside the dorm.
“When the species are different and the spore counts are elevated, that’s when you know you’ve got a problem,” Dakota said.
Mold occurs naturally and can be found both indoors and outdoors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, it can occur even in a building that’s occupied and well-maintained, like Taylor Hall.
“Pretty much the entire building has mold spores,” Charlie said.
Fall term ended on Dec. 13, and students’ belongings were moved into storage. Christenson set up containment and negative air pressure on Dec. 15, and actual remediation began on Dec. 16.
An air scrubber’s pre-filter removed larger dust, hair, pollen and PM10, particulate matter 10 micrometers or less in diameter, while a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter eliminated finer dust particles.
The four to five Christenson employees on site wore respirators and protective white suits as they blew out room heaters with compressed air, cleaned carpets with HEPA vacuums and wiped down surfaces with antimicrobial cleaning solution.
With three floors and a garden level, Taylor Hall represents a big remediation job. But Christenson Cleaning and Restoration has the personnel, equipment and certifications to handle large, multi-room facilities. The company previously remediated mold in a hotel with 75 rooms and six large hallways.
“It’s great that a local college used us, a local provider.”– Charlie Christenson, Owner
“That was probably our biggest mold remediation project to date,” Charlie said.
Students began returning to a safe and clean dormitory on Jan. 5. Christenson had completed the project successfully and on time.
Hastings College has been great to work with, Charlie said, adding, “It’s great that a local college used us, a local provider.”