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Mold prompts emergency repairs at Dublin school district site

Staff to be relocated after mold spores detected at former Nielsen school

The Dublin Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved an emergency resolution for $250,000 of repair work Tuesday night after two inspections detected signs of mold at the Nielsen Education Center earlier this year.

The presence of mold means about a dozen staff members at Nielsen will temporarily relocate to the former Kaleidoscope property while the Nielsen site is repaired “before the rain season starts and mold re-activates," according to district staff.

During that time, the district said “a repair and renovation of the existing two portables at the Kaleidoscope site is needed in order to accommodate the staff transfer.”

There are no students at the Nielsen site, which sits on the eastern side of the DUSD district office grounds, since it ceased operations as a school in 2009. The former campus has found a second life in the past decade and is now used for district storage and training events.

Normally a public notice for bids is required before issuing a contract, but California law allows a school district’s governing board to approve repairs or replacement of a public facility without issuing a bid during an emergency.

In February, the district performed an inspection at the Nielsen site for roof leaks, water damage and mold, including a visual inspection and tape lifts for mold samples, followed by another in October that also included air samples. According to district documents, “both reports came back positive for mold on the tape lift samples albeit all samples are dormant.”

The air samples did not show elevated mold spores in all areas, particularly those currently occupied on a regular basis, but staff said “there are specific areas (hallways) in the main building that the levels are elevated.”

DUSD spokesman Chip Dehnert told the Weekly in an email on Thursday, “The possibility of renovating the Nielsen site, or building a new school on the site (and removing the old one, similar to what is going to happen at Frederiksen and Murray) has recently been discussed as a way to address continued growth in Dublin, but given the lack of action on the bond measure that was on Tuesday night's Board agenda, it's not clear when or if that will happen.”

According to Dehnert, staff from Nielsen will be at the Kaleidoscope property “indefinitely”, where construction will start in several weeks and take about a month to complete. Deferred maintenance funds will cover the $250,000 budget for the Kaleidoscope renovations.

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