Testing shows air quality in Gonzales, McCreless meets health standards

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By Richard Stone

In a campuswide meeting Jan. 16, Janae Johnson, the director of college services, addressed two reports from Dec. 19 that showed the air quality in Gonzales and McCreless halls meets health and safety standards.

Janae Johnson. File photo

The director also answered questions from the occupants of the two buildings who were required to attend.

The Ranger previously reported on the air quality in Gonzales and McCreless halls in the articles “No mold found in McCreless Hall” on Nov. 23, 2015, and “Gonzales Hall air pressure imbalance discovered in follow-up report” on April 27, 2016.

Professor  Patricia Portales, who works in the English department in Gonzales Hall, said “The English department has been concerned about the air quality in Gonzales Hall since we formed the air quality committee in 2004.”

“There was a report dated Jan. 6, 2004, which said the air in Gonzales Hall was tested for the presence of mold spores, volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and relative humidity,” Portales added.

The air quality committee last met in the spring of 2005, and it no longer exists.

Portales was unable to attend the Jan. 16 meeting.

English Professor Jane Focht-Hansen, who works in the writing center in Gonzales Hall and was a member of the air quality committee, said,”At the end of fall 2019, I came in the building and noticed the smell of a dead animal and raw sewage. I talked to the English department’s administrative assistant. She indicated that the complaint had been filed.”

Moving beyond air quality, the basement of Gonzales Hall has gotten attention from the college administration.

English Professor Alex Bernal, said, “The basement of Gonzales Hall has been locked up for years. I was surprised to learn at the Jan. 16 meeting that there is a pump in the basement of Gonzales Hall.”

Moving on to McCreless Hall, a different perspective comes forward.

Math Professor  Steve Ochoa, who works in the math lab in McCreless, said, “I am not aware of any air quality problems in McCreless Hall.”

He did not attend the Jan. 16 meeting.

In the past, McCreless Hall has faced its own challenge: flooding.

Professor Paula McKenna, the coordinator for the math department at McCreless Hall, said, “Several years ago, five offices and one bathroom flooded on the first floor of McCreless Hall.”

“The college administration was concerned about the possible presence of mold in those rooms,” McKenna added.

“It took around three weeks for those rooms to be fixed,” McKenna said.

The McCreless Hall basement was flooded after a heavy rain Labor Day weekend 2013, closing the building for the summer, according to the Ranger.

Johnson started at her current job in January 2017.

“I have been aware of air quality issues in Gonzales and McCreless halls since I started working at San Antonio College,” Johnson said.

“The air quality was tested in both halls in December 2016,” she added.

“I believe that people should be safe at work,” Johnson said.

“The reports for Gonzales and McCreless halls are dated Dec. 19. Only the preliminary reports were released at the meeting. The final reports are available at the Sharepoint website for SAC employees (http://share.alamo.edu/sac),” she added.

Concerns about building safety should be directed to Roderick (Roy) Brown, who is the environmental health and safety coordinator in Enterprise Risk Management, at 210-485-0768.

“The air, floors, walls and ceilings were tested at multiple points in both Gonzales and McCreless halls. The reports show that the air quality in both buildings meets health and safety standards,” Johnson said.

“In an effort to mitigate future flooding in those areas, we are treating the underfloor,” Johnson said about Gonzales and McCreless halls.

The underfloor is the crawlspace under the basement.

“We are putting down concrete, abating any asbestos, and installing a pump to keep water out,” Johnson added about Gonzales Hall.

“I led the Jan. 16 meeting. If any faculty members are losing resources, please let campus facilities know. I want people to ask any questions they have about building safety. I mentioned this at the meeting. The proper action has been taken on building safety,” Johnson added.

Johnson can be reached at 210-486-0902 or jjohnson650@alamo.edu.

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