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Chapel Hill High closes library to clean moldy books

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The library at Chapel Hill High School is closed this week while a crew removes and cleans every book from its shelves The library at Chapel Hill High School is closed this week while a crew removes and cleans every book from its shelves
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

The library at one Chapel Hill school is closed this week to keep students away from the books.

The precaution comes as mold was found growing on the edge of some leather-bound books at Chapel Hill High School

A crew will remove and clean every book from the shelves of the library this week during times when students are not in class.

The cleanup could cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

Over the summer, some classrooms flooded, which caused some mold there. That was cleaned up before students returned, but school leaders think the library mold grew from moisture that came through the HVAC system.

Todd LoFrese, assistant superintendent for support services for Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools, said the library mold likely grew from moisture that came through the HVAC system. He blamed an unusually humid summer for the problems.

"Occasionally we have some smaller, isolated issues if a HVAC unit in a classroom stops working or if you get some moisture or some flooding in a particular classroom. I think was a little larger-scale for us," LoFrese said.

The mold has disrupted the normal flow of the school, Principal Sulura Jackson said.

"You work to try to make sure your media center is the heart of your school and you want students to have access to that resource. So, we can't relocate the media center, but we can relocate the resources that are there," Jackson said.

Library staff will be relocated to a computer room so they can continue to help students.

A representative from the Orange County Health Department observed some of the cleaning process. Also, an industrial hygienist will monitor to make sure proper procedures are followed.

The school is temporarily running boilers and the air conditioning system at the same time to help keep humidity levels low.

According to a news release from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, "Chapel Hill High School is one of our older facilities and is in need of significant repairs and renovations.

"The district has conducted a professional facility analysis of our older schools and is developing long term solutions to address challenges such as these. This fall, district administration will share results with the community and will also present findings and solutions related to Chapel Hill High School at an upcoming school improvement team meeting."

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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