Bennettsville Intermediate School retested for mold, Marlboro students not happy

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BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – A second mold evaluation was done on Bennettsville Intermediate School in Marlboro County on Saturday and some parents and students think it should’ve been done on Marlboro County High School.

Julie McMillan is a senior at Marlboro County High School and said she and her classmates started a petition against the move of fourth and fifth grade Bennettsville Intermediate students to the high school.

“The high school students and the high school teachers on D Hall are being kicked out of their classrooms in order to make room for these children and that’s not really fair to us,” she said. “I understand that the students need somewhere to go, but there are other solutions and other ways to handle this problem.”

President of Elysium Environmental Services and Industrial Hygienist, Mike Underhill, was at Bennettsville intermediate on Saturday and collected more than 20 samples around the school.

“The School Board has asked me to come in and do a follow up survey to what General Engineering Laboratories had done and I’m just following in their footsteps,” Underhill said. “In other words I’m sampling in the areas that they were sampling in.”

An inspection completed at Bennettsville Intermediate School by G-E-L Engineering earlier this year shows mold was found both inside and outside of the building, but was not harmful to students and staff. G-E-L Engineer Ronald Sharpe’s reported mold was found in eight out of 12 surface swab samples of dust.

“We should have had our schools clean, it should not have gotten to the point where we have all this mold,” McMillan said.

Underhill said he used an air sampling pump to test Bennettsville intermediate.

“It’s attached to a tube which is attached to a spore trap and when you turn that on, you let it run for about ten minutes and it collects, not only mold spores, but it collects all kinds of particles in the air,” Underhill explained. “We’ll take two of those, one before I start inside and then one after I’m finished and we’ll compare the two, and we’ll compare all the samples that are inside to each other and to the outside to see if there’s a significant difference.”

McMillan said she’s worried that Marlboro County High teachers will quit if the Bennettsville Intermediate students transfer to the high school.

“We can’t just find new teachers in Marlboro County, not good ones, so when these teachers leave, what are we going to do?” she asked. “It’s going to be another problem for the high schoolers.”

The 17-year-old said she would like to see a mold evaluation done on Marlboro County High School.

“I do feel like they should’ve done one at Marlboro as well,” said McMillan. “There is mold at the high school, I actually have mold inside one of my classrooms and I can see it on the ceiling.”

Underhill said he expects to have results from Saturday’s evaluation by Friday, Dec. 15th.

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