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Granville residents relocated to hotels as mold is removed

20191011_McConnell_GranvilleMold-5.jpg
Mold growing on a vent in Granville Towers on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Residents have recently discovered mold in Granville Towers, forcing the Granville administration to relocate some residents to area hotels.

Granville Towers residents are being relocated to hotels over the next few weeks, as the privately-owned residence hall deals with mold in its heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

Granville, which is managed by Greystar Real Estate Partners, sent an email to residents on Oct. 4 about the issue.

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, residents and their parents received another email stating that Granville would need to relocate groups of residents for 48 hours each on a rolling basis while their suites are being treated. 

“The health, welfare, safety and success of our students is a primary concern for Granville Towers and UNC-Chapel Hill,” Clayton Hayer, the general manager of Granville, said in the email. “We realize this situation has caused disruption and apologize for any inconvenience.”

Samples done by an outside contractor identified aspergillus/penicillium, cladosporium, fusarium, chaetomium, stachybotrys, trichoderma and ulocladium mold species, which are common species resulting from condensation issues, Hayer said in the email. 

In a document attached to the email, which lists updated FAQs for residents, Granville said residents will have to leave their suite by 9 a.m. on the day that work on their suite is scheduled and will be relocated to a hotel for the next two nights. 

Granville said in the FAQ that this remediation process, which involves addressing over 350 HVAC units, will take their contractors several weeks. Three companies — Matrix Health & Safety, Enpuricon and HVAC Improvements — will be performing cleanup and repairs. Granville is working with Enpuricon and HVAC engineers at Moore's Mechanical to develop a plan for remediating and re-engineering all of the HVAC units.

Hayer said in the email that Granville has put together a systematic plan to treat clusters of rooms each day, starting in the West Tower and then moving to the other towers. On Thursday, the Granville Towers maintenance team began installing HEPA Filter Air Scrubbers to rooms awaiting remediation.

Granville said in the FAQ that residents will stay in The Carolina Inn, The AC Marriott or The Franklin Hotel, all of which are within walking distance of Granville. Residents will not be charged unless they damage anything or charge items to their rooms, the FAQ said.

“Carolina is committed to ensuring that all students have a safe and clean place to live,” Media Relations Manager Kate Luck said in an email. “We apologize for any inconvenience and concern this causes our students and parents. We are confident that Greystar will fully remediate all affected areas.”

In the Oct. 9 email, Hayer advised students to schedule an appointment with Campus Health if they have certain symptoms such as eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, wheezing or skin irritation,  or if they are taking medication that might affect their immune system. 

First-year Tyler Parker, a Granville resident, said he had known something was wrong with the vents since he moved into his room in August — but he said the first time they were told about the mold was with Granville’s recent emails.

“I moved in, and there was stuff on the outside of my vent,” Parker said. “I didn't really think it was mold, but in retrospect, it definitely was.” 

While he isn’t sure whether it’s related to the mold, Parker said he has been sick in the past two weeks with what he doesn’t think is a cold or the flu. He said he’s heard other residents coughing a lot through the night.

Parker said he thinks what Granville has been doing in terms of maintenance has been fine but found their communication lacking.

“We didn't know if they were coming through every single tower and cleaning out every single room, or if it was a contained problem or if it was in every room,” Parker said. “They've kind of been sporadically updating us on it, but it wasn't, I don't think, as good as it could have been in terms of communication.”

university@dailytarheel.com

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