IU Spokesperson Chuck Carney says both Foster and McNutt residence halls will close in May to undergo a full-scale renovation process. (Steve Burns, WTIU/WFIU News)
The Indiana University Board of Trustees approved a proposal Friday to temporarily close and renovate two dorms on its Bloomington campus in response to ongoing mold problems.
IU Spokesperson Chuck Carney says both Foster and McNutt residence halls will close in May to undergo a full-scale renovation process. He says although the university has conducted over 1,700 mold remediations, IU feels this is the best long-term solution.
“We’ll have all of the things that were going to be done in a couple years done much more quickly and that will ensure that any future response to any mold issue is going to be mitigated,” he says.
The renovations will include installing new HVAC systems, new air ducts and piping and redesigning rooms and common spaces. The projects are projected to cost $56 million, which will come from the Residential Programs and Services budget. Both dorms are expected to reopen in 2020.
This fall IU reimbursed students living in Foster and McNutt with a $3,000 Bursar credit. The university also provided alternate housing to students living in spaces where reports indicate high levels of mold spores.
Carney says now only 3 percent of the rooms in both dorms fall in an unsafe mold spore range, but some reports show mold returning to rooms even after remediation.
Students currently living in Foster and McNutt who have no chronic health conditions or symptoms will remain in their dorms for the remainder of the academic year.
The renovations are part of a larger $300 million initiative to enhance campus housing over the next six years. The plan includes upgrades in Teter residence hall as well as the completion of a new North Hall in 2020.
Carney says the housing selection process for the upcoming year is under development and more information will be available to students on their options in early 2019.
Despite the planned closure of the two dorms, Carney says the university remains committed to providing adequate housing at a variety of price points for incoming freshman and returning students next year.
“We’re just really wanting to make sure that our student’s safety and welfare is paramount and that they’re not impeded in their studies by a situation such as they had this fall,” he says.
The university faces a class action lawsuit that alleges it didn't do enough to address the mold infestation in Foster and McNutt. The complaint, filed in October, represents seven freshman students.