The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) has released a report detailing mold and water damage at the John Muir / SMASH campus. 

According to the latest report, mold levels in 19 of 21 tested classrooms are within acceptable levels but two classrooms show levels that were up to double the density of outdoor air. 

“Air sample results are a picture of conditions at that point in time and can vary depending on activity levels, weather conditions, dustiness, outside air exchange rates, and other factors,” said the report. “Since airborne mold spores are natural and ubiquitous in the environment, the total number of mold spores from indoor sample subject areas are compared to the outdoor reference samples, but the type and rank of mold spores detected is also considered. Mold spores detected inside the building should typically reflect those spores found in the outside air but at a concentration that is generally lower than the outside air. If mold spores found inside a building are significantly different than those detected outside the building, or there is a significant concentration of airborne mold spores indoors that are not detected in the outside air, a further investigation into an indoor mold growth source should be considered.”

District officials announced the problem last week with the release of a 131-page report detailing significant water damage at the campus. The situation is attributed to a combination of poor construction practices, age and exposure, deferred maintenance, and defective or inappropriate installation of materials, including during relatively recent repair or remediation work. 

This week’s report also said there was evidence of “hidden” mold growth within the wall cavity of least one location. 

After inspection the SMMUSD Board committed to identifying the source of the water intrusion, making repairs, determining the scope of hidden mold and conducting subsequent remediation to ensure the health and safety of occupants. 

Consultants NV5 recommend individuals with mold sensitivities avoid the possibly contaminated areas, removal of porous materials (such as drywall or insulation) that show signs of water damage, additional invasive testing of the locations and using a qualified mold remediation contractor. 

The full price tag for the work remain unknown as the investigation continues. However, the Board recently extended a contract for weekly testing and approved $55,000 to begin remediation plans. 

The report will be shared with parents via SMMUSD’s Blackboard online system.

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