After mold outbreaks displaced hundreds of students during the fall semester, the University of Maryland Department of Residential Facilities will undertake a “moisture control plan” to prevent mold from growing in dorms.
In November, a report released by a third-party contractor found that the mold outbreak in Elkton Hall — which forced the dorm’s 550 residents to evacuate and relocate to hotels across College Park — was due to high humidity that the building’s air conditioning units couldn’t control. The report recommended the school install dehumidifiers in every room in Elkton Hall.
In response, Residential Facilities announced Thursday that it will renovate 16 dorms — Baltimore, Bel Air, Calvert, Centreville, Cumberland, Denton, Easton, Elkton, Ellicott, Harford, La Plata, Montgomery, New Leonardtown, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s and Somerset halls.
Some dorms will receive short-term measures, such as dehumidifiers and new windows. Others will undergo more extensive, permanent renovations, including replacing roofs and upgrading HVAC systems. The work will start in March and is projected to end in August.
This project will require changes to the Department of Resident Life’s strategic plan for on-campus housing, released in 2014. The plan details expected construction and renovations for residential buildings on campus through 2029, totaling roughly $700 million. An update is set to be released this spring.
“DRF recently evaluated the existing residence hall infrastructure, budget, and spring and summer building occupancy schedules to develop a multi-faceted approach to ensuring moisture control and dehumidification in our residence halls moving forward,” Residential Facilities said in a statement. “Several permanent solutions and short-term measures will be expedited, based on each building’s specific technical needs.”
Residents of Elkton Hall began reporting mold last semester, and the building was evacuated so it could be cleaned. Students eventually said they found mold in at least nine other dorms and on-campus apartments, six of which will be renovated under this plan.