Concerns spark testing of Gessner room

Results confirmed this week that a room in Gessner Hall tested negative for abnormal amounts of mold and mildew.

The room in question has undergone several rounds of testing during the past few weeks – the most recent happening Wednesday, Dean of Students Cassy Bailey said.

Associate Dean of Students Teresa Clounch said a freshman student expressed concerns late last semester about the presence of mold in his room.

“When the resident mentioned there was mold, we let maintenance know,” Clounch said Tuesday.

After becoming aware of the concerns, Clounch said she and a member of the maintenance crew examined the room.

“We looked in the bathroom and on the walls, and there was no visible signs of mold or mildew,” she said.

Then Clounch said maintenance performed an airborne test on the room in which solution is placed in a petri dish and set inside the suspected room.

“You leave it exposed for a certain number of hours,” she said.

When the allotted time is up, the dish is covered and left in the environment for even longer.

“There was no growth for that time frame,” Clounch said.

Despite negative results from the petri dish test, Bailey said maintenance opted to have a Lawrence-based specialist test the room’s surface particles. These samples are collected by taking a piece of tape and wiping various surface areas. Those results – costing the university about $1,500 – also came back negative.

“The results are fairly typical,” Director of Physical Plant Gary Walbridge said. “We’re in good shape. It’s pretty typical for what you’d find in any residence.”

The previous resident has since moved into a room in the Living and Learning Center but did not choose to comment on the record to the Baker Orange.

Bailey said her main concern is that the resident did not contact her sooner, adding that maintenance cannot fix a problem it doesn’t know about.

“I want to encourage students to utilize the hall staff or come to us,” she said.

Clounch agreed, saying students even can submit maintenance requests online now at

“You click on service request,” she said. “Put a name, building and room. Then at the bottom, type in what particular service is needed.”