Not What You’re Thinking Of

Suspicious dark stains and spots located on classroom ceilings lead to concern among students and staff.


Nayeli Arellano

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Nayeli Arellano, News Editor

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The annex and cube are infamous for their less than pleasing appearance, especially the ceilings. The tiles are riddled with suspicious stains and odd dark marks sprinkle the edges of air vents. Dark marks are even turning up on ceilings in the main building and in computer labs. Some find them concerning, and others could care less.
Some students are quick to judge the spots as mold. However, it is not what they think. Mold is a fungus that commonly produces spores that are released in the air. Mold has a velvet-like appearance and an odor that could be described as “musty.” Principal Kraig Kelican explains that the dark spots that border the air vents are simply dirt.
If a complaint is filed, the school tests the area. Kelican explains that many of the dark spots surrounding the vents are air returns for HVAC and, depending on their location, some have dark spots on their perimeter. If there is a concern regarding any possible mold, a work order is placed for maintenance. From there, a group is contracted, and they swab and test the possible mold at a lab. They determine the source and what it is. If it is mold, they vacate the room and sanitize it. Recent investigations in the annex and 700 room hall came up as just dirt and dust.
Kelican addresses that there has been mold in the past. Mold was found in the bottom floor of the annex years ago. He says that it was a moisture issue and was attended to promptly.
George Murphy’s biology students investigated the concerns when tasked with swabbing for bacteria in the school. Students used Q-tips to take samples of various spots of their choosing and swab them on a petri dish so they can grow the bacteria they collected. Some decided to sample the dark spots on the ceilings. They observed bacteria under a microscope and tested for strep and pneumonia. One sample came up positive for strep. However, it must be noted that these tests are not 100 percent accurate.
The annex and cube, however, display a different set of issues with its ceilings. Brown stains are commonly seen on the ceiling tiles due to leakage issues. Animal Care teacher Taylor Richardson has dealt with this issue numerous times.
Her classroom, 803, was previously a part of the shop, however, it was made into a classroom. To do this, they lowered the ceilings. She explains that above the classroom ceiling is another ceiling that sits up higher. Because of this, leakage is common and the ceiling tiles in her room often sport brown stains. Richardson says that in the past, water would leak from the ceiling onto her desk. She filed a complaint at the beginning of the school year and they quickly replaced the tiles. However, brown stains are still clearly visible when you enter the room.
Auto-tech teacher Scott Freeman has also dealt with this recurring issue in his classroom. However, he decided to fix the issue himself. Over the summer he took a trip to Home Depot, bought some paint and painted over the stains on his ceiling.
If any student or staff member has any knowledge about possible mold in the school, concerns can be directed to Jim Raines.