MINNEAPOLIS — Students at the University of Minnesota noticed they had stuffy noses and coughs since they moved into their dorms. After a month, some looked into their air vents and found mold.
"It's concerning," freshman Abby Meinert told KARE 11 Wednesday.
Meinert unscrewed her air vent and found mold inside earlier this week in her dorm at the 17th Avenue Residence Hall. She says she noticed the vent was full of dust on the outside when she first moved in but didn't expect to find mold behind it.
"It makes me wonder if they inspected everything before the school year started," Meinert said.
A spokesperson for the University of Minnesota told KARE in an email that their safety officials collected samples yesterday and confirmed that there was "fungal growth" present in those areas. A full and public inspection report, which is consistent with university policy, is expected in the coming days.
Meinert and some of her friends have had to make multiple trips to urgent care and doctors. They said the mold in their vents has been cleaned out but they believe the whole building is at risk because the mold was in the central air units.
The university spokesperson added, "Abatement work in any rooms that need it will begin tomorrow. This includes deep cleaning, as well as applying specialty paint on the fiberglass insulation that is designed to prevent future fungal growth. Housing and Residential Life is working directly with affected students on temporary relocation options."
While on-campus, KARE news crews were told the university's building on 1425 University Avenue was having asbestos removed. It's not uncommon for older buildings to need this type of cleaning, but students are surprised a building built in 2013 like 17th Avenue Residence Hall does.
"This is a problem, and I hope they address it quickly," Meinert said.
According to the university, students pay more to live in 17th Avenue Residence Hall. For 2022-2023, room and board at 17th Avenue is $3,652 per semester for a double occupancy room and $4,313 per semester for a single occupancy room. Meal packages that students must buy start at $2,420. Students in 17th Ave living with a roommate on the lowest meal plan pay roughly $6,000 a semester.
KARE asked about the inspection protocols for HVAC systems in University buildings. We are waiting on a response from the university and will update the article accordingly.
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