Over this past winter break, WREK radio suffered extensive damage to their storage facility in the annex building to Alexander Memorial Coliseum. A steam pipe that ran through the room burst, filling the locked room with heat and heavy moisture.
For at least three days, since the WREK staff was away on break, the room continued to stay saturated with moisture. This moisture, combined with the warm temperature and darkness, created the perfect growing conditions for mold, which began to thrive and grow on most of the WREK property.
Aside from the moisture damage, mold also poses a serious threat, not only to the condition of the WREK equipment but also to the health of anyone entering the room. According to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, the mold posed a health hazard.
“A couple of our staff reported headaches and trouble breathing after spending 20 minutes in the room,” said Trey Rhodes, WREK general manager.
Before the health risk from the mold was known, the WREK staff attempted to remove the items from the room and begin cleaning off the mold. Mac Pitts, director of Student Media, also noted that after being in the room he experienced headaches and that his throat closed up.
After the mold was discovered, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety was called in to assess the situation and analyze the health risks caused by the mold growth.
The Office of Risk Management is currently working on the case to find a mold remediation company to clean up and dispose of the harmful mold growing on the WREK equipment and record cases.
Currently the room has been cordoned off by Environmental Health and Safety staff. According to Pitts, the locks on the doors have also been changed, preventing any WREK staff from attempting to salvage any of the items in the room.
WREK used the room as a storage facility for old recordings and backup broadcasting equipment. The estimated value of the damage to WREK’s property was not possible to determine at this time, as most of the items were of a historical and archival nature.
“Some of the equipment was custom built and designed by WREK alumni and is irreplaceable,” Rhodes said. “It’s very hard to place a value on the damages that occurred due to the unique nature of the recordings and equipment.”