UCO Will Be Moving Residents Back Into Murdaugh This Week

As of Aug. 10, Murdaugh Hall, located West of the Mass Communications building, is temporarily closed until the mold issue is resolved. (Tanner Laws/The Vista)

The less than 300 University of Central Oklahoma Murdaugh Hall residents who had to relocate to other residence halls on campus due to mold being found in the facility will be able to return to their rooms sometime this week, according to Adrienne Nobles, assistant vice president for UCO’s Communications.

Nobles said the mold found was classified as part of the Penicillium/Aspergillus fungi group.

According to the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, this type of mold is not toxic like Stachybotrys chartarum, or black mold, but can cause some illnesses to develop in people. For instance, high levels of Penicillium can cause asthma in children, and some species of Aspergillus can cause lung infections in people with weakened immune systems, according to ESF.

The mold was uncovered by resident assistants who were conducting a final check of the building before students moved in Aug. 9, Nobles said.

The mold was caused by a leak in Murdaugh’s plumbing, according to Nobles. The leak was determined the issue from UCO’s maintenance team who did investigations of the mold during the removal process.

“The mold was discovered in approximately one-third of the rooms throughout the building,” Nobles said. “It was not isolated to a single area of the building, nor was the plumbing issue.”

Certified Commercial Restoration, a water damage repair company, is working to remove the mold and ensure the building is sanitized. Nobles said UCO’s maintenance teams are working to correct the plumbing issue.

While the cost for the repair is still undetermined, Nobles said the early estimation is somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000.

“The budget for these repairs will come from the Housing Maintenance budget,” Nobles said. “Housing at UCO is a self-funded operation, so funds will not come from tuition revenue or student activity fees.”

Some residents who initially moved into Murdaugh were concerned when they found out they had to relocate to other halls around campus.

Abby Wright, incoming freshman, had to move to West Hall and described her experience as being “super annoyed at first,” but said the UCO Housing and Dining staff have “been very helpful.” Wright said she plans on moving back in to Murdaugh once it re-opens.

All residents have been continually updated with emails from UCO Housing staff as to when they can move back in.

Each student that had to move to a different hall on campus has the option of staying in their current place of residency, or they can move back to Murdaugh, Nobles said. If a student chooses to stay at a relocated hall, he/she will pay the same monthly cost as if they were at Murdaugh.

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