North Central’s Phillipps Hall is in the beginning stages of construction because of possible mold problem. Photo by Ericka Sura.
Mold discovered in the east wing floors of Phillipps Hall late this summer brought the displacement of dozens of students who originally planned on living there this semester. An official statement released by Todd Monger, executive director of student development and Jay Vetter, director of facilities management stated there was no health risk to students and faculty using the classrooms, offices and Clay Commons in Phillipps Hall. However, 89 students from the east wing dorms and one student from the west wing dorms have been relocated to different housing for the entirety of the fall semester.
Nancy Zugschwert, director of communication at North Central said due to the late in the summer discovery of the mold, the university board wasn’t able to act upon and resolve the situation before classes started. All students that moved housing will have the opportunity to move back into Phillipps Hall by the beginning of the spring 2018 semester in January.
Throughout fall semester the university will be replacing the moldy HVAC systems, as well as hiring an outside firm of professional engineers to assess the situation and hopefully determine how the mold started exactly, and precautions the school can take so that this doesn’t happen again.
“The students responded with great understanding and grace, helping make this unexpected situation a lot less stressful,” Zugschwert said.
“The student development staff, along with facilities management, demonstrated great creativity and resourcefulness by coming up with a plan and quickly readying campus spaces for residents.”
North Central sent a survey to all Phillipps Hall residents to determine the placement for the students and if the new housing met their needs and expectations as well. This was sent out to all Phillip’s Hall students; including the west wing occupants that weren’t required to move housing, but had the option to if they preferred not to live in the building.
Of the responses to the survey students originally planning to live in the east wing, 74 responses stated they had their needs met by the school during their relocation. There were 34 responses from west wing residents who weren’t required to move, but given the opportunity to if they desired. Only one west wing student chose to switch locations.
The vast majority of survey responses indicated the students were pleased with how North Central handled the situation. The only notable discrepancies were from some male students who requested Zimmerman House which had already been designated as housing for women during the relocation period.
“As a whole, I’ve become accustomed to it,” Caleb Taylor, resident advisor of the Phillips 2 East students, said about the move from Phillipps to Mensing Hall. “At first I wasn’t excited about [switching buildings], but I do think [North Central] handled the situation well.”
Most students, while eager to move back to Phillipps Hall next semester, have been satisfied with their temporary housing and are enjoying the small perks like having access to a full kitchen in the lounges of Mensing.
“Focusing on the community rather than the building we’re in has been helpful for many students as well,” Taylor said. “The only major difference is having to calculate more time for walking to and from classes since Mensing is a couple blocks away from the majority of North Central buildings.”