Mold Infestation Causes Dorm Evacuations at St. Mary's College - NBC4 Washington

Mold Infestation Causes Dorm Evacuations at St. Mary's College

Displaced students housed in hotels and a cruise ship



    St. Mary's College students are moving into a new dorm Monday, a cruise ship. The school rented the ship after finding black mold in some of its dorm rooms. Darcy Spencer gives us a tour of the creative housing solution. (Published Monday, Oct. 31, 2011)

    Hundreds of students at St. Mary's College of Maryland have been forced out of their dorms and now offshore after a health threat was discovered on campus.

    College officials detected widespread mold growing along the insulation surrounding air conditioning vents in two of the schools dormitories.  In the interest of students' safety, the living areas have been vacated.

    But many students might call their new temporary headquarters an upgrade: a cruise ship docked on the St. Mary's River.

    School officials believe that the extremely wet conditions brought by Hurricane Irene and the storms that followed have caused this mold infestation.

    Mold Forces Evacuation of St. Mary's Dorms

    [DC] Mold Forces Evacuation of St. Mary's Dorms
    At St. Mary's College in Maryland, 350 students have been displaced after a mold problem was discovered in ceilings.
    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011)

    At least one student fell ill with respiratory problems, a St. Mary's student told News4.  The 350 students that lived in the dorms have been moved to area hotels, but the school said the logistics of shuttling students back and forth became too complicated.

    As an alternative, the Sea Voyager, an independently owned cruise ship, has been sailed up the St. Mary's River to the college's pier.  Around 240 of the displaced students will get to ditch their hotel rooms for the luxury ship on Monday morning.  St. Mary's College says the cost of renting hotel rooms and renting berths aboard the ship is roughly equivalent.

    Although some students see the new off-campus housing as a nice adventure, college officials say they are working to clean  the dorms quickly.

    "One of the reasons that choose a residential college is so that they don't have to worry about housing and food, and they can concentrate on their studies," college president Joseph Urgo told News4's Jane Watrel.  "We want them to return to that."

    Cleanup crews are in the two dormitories now.  According to Urgo, their work could be finished in three weeks.