St. Charles schools OK mold removal plan for mobile elementary classrooms

St. Charles Unit District 303 board members have agreed to spend $268,030 to remediate mold from mobile classrooms at Davis Primary.

The mobile classrooms will house half of the dual-language program for the 2024-25 school year.

A new grade-level configuration for Richmond and Davis includes transitioning to K-5 buildings and housing the dual-language program at Richmond Intermediate.

The relocation of the dual-language program will exceed the space available at Richmond and require using six mobile classrooms during the 2024-25 school year.

District 303 had been considering renting six mobile classrooms at Richmond but instead chose to remediate the mobile classrooms at Davis, which were planned to be decommissioned at the end of this school year.

Earlier this month, board members reviewed three options to alleviate the overcrowding: rent new mobile classrooms at Richmond, use the existing mobile classrooms at Davis for half of the dual-language program or consolidate the dual-language program to one class per grade level at Richmond.

Air quality tests showed the presence of mold in Davis mobile classrooms. There was mold above the ceiling throughout the mobile unit, which will cost the district an estimated $268,029 to remediate.

The rental of mobile units at Richmond was estimated to cost more than $600,000.

Consolidating dual-language classes was the cheapest option, but the much larger class sizes were deemed detrimental to the learning environment.

While multiple board members expressed dissatisfaction with the dual-language program being split between two sites, the board ultimately decided to implement a remediation plan at Davis rather than rent new mobile structures.

On Feb. 12, board members awarded the remediation contract to Bear Construction Company in a 6-1 vote. Board member Edward McNally cast the sole no vote.

Before the vote, McNally asked if the mobile classrooms would be removed at the end of the 2024-25 school year.

“I want to know, for certain, that we are eliminating mobiles in this district,” he said.

Superintendent Paul Gordon confirmed the intention is to remove the mobile unit after the 2024-25 school year.

As approved, grades K-2 of the dual-language program will be housed in the mobile classrooms at Davis for the 2024-25 school year, and grades 3-5 will be housed at Richmond.

The full dual-language program is intended to be housed at Richmond in the 2025-26 school year after more classrooms are constructed.

Work is expected to begin on the mobile units in April and take about 12 weeks to complete. The estimated timeline shows planning and permitting through March and abatement completed in June.

July will be spent preparing classrooms for the next school year.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.