Florida State University

Florida State University closes building after reports of black mold and radon

Feb. 4, 2022
The university decided to close the Sandels building after a report from faculty members that conditions in the Sandels building raise "serious health concerns."

Florida State University has closed the Sandels building on the Tallahassee campus for air testing after a report by faculty members listed "serious health concerns," including harmful air quality, possible chemical exposure and "extremely high and unsafe" levels of radon and black mold. 

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that the faculty members also called attention to five faculty members and three former graduate students who have worked extensively in the building and were diagnosed with cancer in the last decade. Three of them have died. 

The university says it is conducting a "thorough environmental review of the building" that will include comprehensive radon level measurements, one of the main concerns laid out in the report.

Florida State also is examining conditions in the Williams Building, which houses the English department, after air quality concerns were received by the university, according to spokeswoman Amy Farnum-Patronis. 

Instructors who work in the Williams building, which remains open, have been given the option to temporarily work remotely. Some professors have begun to move classes online.

The 129-page report on the Sandels building was created by four professors who compiled emails, maps, photos, public records and testimonies from faculty and families.

It included a myriad of complaints, warnings and efforts from faculty and staff to notify the university of the building's problems dating back to the early 2000s.

The most common complaint in written documents since 2001 concern black particles coming out of the ventilation system and building up on office desks, lab benches and classroom furnishings. 

In 2009, after a surge of black particle reports, an air quality evaluation was carried out. It yielded findings of high levels of black mold as well as "high levels of non-viable material in the HVAC coils."

Sponsored Recommendations

Providing solutions that help creativity, collaboration, and communication.

Discover why we’re a one-stop shop for all things education. See how ODP Business Solutions can help empower your students, school, and district to succeed by supporting healthier...

Building Futures: Transforming K–12 Learning Environments for Tomorrow's Leaders

Discover how ODP Business Solutions® Workspace Interiors partnered with a pioneering school system, overcoming supply chain challenges to furnish 18 new K–12 campuses across 4...

How to design flexible learning spaces that teachers love and use

Unlock the potential of flexible learning spaces with expert guidance from school districts and educational furniture providers. Discover how to seamlessly integrate adaptive ...

Blurring the Lines in Education Design: K–12 to Higher Ed to Corporate America

Discover the seamless integration of educational and corporate design principles, shaping tomorrow's leaders from kindergarten to boardroom. Explore innovative classroom layouts...