Last weekend, Wilson College finished a full remediation effort of the basement of Warfield Hall to address unsafe mold levels. According to Wilson Environmental Health and Compliance Manager Chuck Naso, the Baxter Group finished work ahead of schedule and faculty, staff and students may now use the space.
Last year, the college contracted Baxter Group Inc. to test mold levels in Warfield Hall. Baxter Group Inc. discovered mold levels of the Warfield basement far exceeded safe upper level limits, so the college immediately shut down use of the basement and authorized extensive work in the space.
Since they began work in August, Baxter Group Inc. and their group of subcontractors repaired gutter systems, installed a new HVAC system, and replaced upholstery, carpet, and paint in the Allen Auditorium to address the problem and prevent any future mold occurrences. They also installed new, larger 19 inch chairs in the auditorium.
Brian Ecker, Vice President of Finance and Administration, estimates that the changes to Warfield cost $100,000.
The college will continue working with Baxter Group Inc. to prevent any future mold occurrences in the space.
“We are in a preventative maintenance agreement with the Baxter Group. They will come back and assess the situation on a regular basis,” said Naso.
Naso and other faculty, staff and students have expressed satisfaction with the changes to Warfield and the Allen Auditorium.
“I’ve only heard one faculty comment about the Allen Auditorium,” said Naso. “That faculty member said ‘it looks great.’”
The new auditorium has already been used for campus events, including “Humanity’s Hybridity: The Case of Bastard Spain,” part of the 2013-2014 Orr Forum Lecture and Performance Series.
Most recently, adjunct faculty member Bonnie Rock McCutcheon used the new Allen Auditorium to show “The Mummy” to her introduction to Archeology students.
Wilson Student Patrick Fox ’16 has also used the space for rehearsals for this spring’s student play.
“I think the improvements made to the location are quite apparent and very pleasing, both functionally and aesthetically,” Fox said.
Larry Shillock, Professor of English and Assistant Academic Dean, noted that the changes to Allen Auditorium would help better accommodate both students and faculty.
Shillock said Naso used his and other faculty suggestions to ensure a fully functional and unobstructed auditorium space for performance and lecture classes.
“There was a question of where to put the boiler. They had to find another place. If they put it in here, they wouldn’t have had the performance space,” said Shillock.
Adjunct Theater Professor Richard Shoap expressed similar sentiments.
“I’m pleased that the original floor space has been retained. My one concern, based on being in the space for just a few minutes yesterday is that the blower on the HVAC system seems kind of loud. I don’t know if that’s the usual volume or if they may be running it at a high level just to have maximum effect on air circulation for now,” said Shoap.
Naso also mentioned that the Baxter Group completed renovations to faculty offices where testing indicated unsafe mold levels. Adjunct faculty members expressed satisfaction with the changes to those offices.
“Judging from the way it used to look, it looks wonderful. Looks and smells better,” said Assistant Adjunct Professor Sharon Erby.
“We’ve done a tremendous amount of work in the last fifteen months,” Naso said.
“If there is a problem, we attack it right away.”
For more information about the changes made to Warfield Hall and the Allen Auditorium, contact Chuck Naso at firstname.lastname@example.org.