Abrams Elementary main school building reopens following mold concerns

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Doors will open Friday morning to a newly renovated Bessemer school. It was just a year ago authorities found mold in the school.

Back in August, students and teachers at Abrams Elementary School had to move out of their primary building and move next door. Meanwhile, a professional company came in to work to get rid of the mold inside of the main building.

At the time, mold was seen on several ceiling tiles in the main building. Mold was reportedly coming from the insulation in the almost 60-year-old building.

A process expected to take only weeks, turned into a much larger project.

Right now, everything above the ceiling has been replaced including, duct work and the pipes. Several improvements have been made when it comes to air quality. Classrooms now have six air vents instead of just two.

“We ran into a problem. Our goal was to make it right not to conceal anything we wanted to be transparent about it throughout the community and that’s what we did,” said Reginald Mitchell, Director of Facilities for Bessemer City Schools.

Renovations to the school cost the school system close to $500,000.

Superintendent Keith Stewart started his new position in July of last year, only a month later he would find out about Abrams’ mold issues.

“That’s just the life of a school superintendent we don’t complain we just take whatever situation that we inherit and we just make it better,” said Stewart.

The school’s new interim principal says she’s not focused on the issues of the past and she’s ready to get the students back in the main building.

“We can only move forward Abrams is strong one of the blessed opportunities of being here is that I’m a Bessemer girl anyway so this is home for me Abrams has a strong legacy we’re here to stay,” said Armentress D. Robinson.

Most recently, teachers and students brought up concerns about possible mold spores spreading to the adjacent school building. Tests later revealed there was no toxic mold in the secondary building.

The school hosted an open house Friday morning.

“Having the open house is wonderful,” Robinson said. “It bridges between school and community, the importance of working together and then seeing the end result, as a result of working together.”

“I think it’s lovely. They did a great job,” said Lakeithia Shade, whose son will start the third grade next month. “I think the parents and the teachers will be very pleased.”

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