A mold infestation in the Vermont Statehouse has rendered 14 legislative committee rooms temporarily unfit for human occupancy.
Commissioner of Buildings and General Services Chris Cole says his department will have the problem resolved before lawmakers return for the legislative session in January, but estimates costs for the cleanup project will hit $500,000.
“We have to replace rugs, we have to replace books, we have to replace anything where we have surface mold,” Cole says.
The Vermont Statehouse is one of the oldest capitol buildings in the country, which makes it a fascinating place for tourists, but a beguiling one for building engineers.
Cole says the building’s “antiquated HVAC system” can’t heat up the outside air as it enters the interior of the Statehouse, which has created a moisture problem inside. “And that is not beneficial for the furnishings or anything else which could grow mold,” Cole says.
Cole says the hot, humid weather earlier this summer exacerbated the problem. Also, he says someone forgot to reset the temperature in the committee rooms to 72 degrees when lawmakers left town in late June. Instead, they remained set in the 60s, which led to even more condensation.
Right now, Cole says the 14 committee rooms affected by the mold aren’t safe for human occupants. He says his department will make sure they’re up to snuff before lawmakers return for the legislative session in January.
“It will be done before they come back,” he says. “It has to be done before they come back.”
It isn’t the first time the Statehouse has been beset by mold problems, though Cole says this year is by far the worst. He says he’ll propose a more permanent solution for the Statehouse’s moisture problem to lawmakers early next year. He says it’s still unclear how much the overhaul will cost.
Cole says the $500,000 pricetag for the mold remediation project will force his department to put off other maintenance projects until next year.