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Mold problem now is a money issue for squad

Thursday, January 2, 2014

By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Steady progress is being made to resolve a mold problem at the Ridgeway Rescue Squad building, according to squad President Darren Lockridge.

According to previous Bulletin reports, the mold problem was discovered at the squad building in March during a kitchen renovation project. By then, Sheetrock, floor and ceiling tiles, and other parts of the building had been affected.

Since then, Lockridge said, the water drainage issues that initially caused the mold problem have been resolved. In early September, he said, the squad hired Troutville basement water-proofing company Seal-Tite to seal the building’s basement level.

Previously, Lockridge said, there was no barrier between the brick basement walls and the earth, allowing water to leak through the walls into the basement.

“Water was literally pouring through the brick at one time,” Lockridge said.

Seal-Tite personnel dug out the earth around the building, sprayed the brick with a clear sealant and installed a proprietary membrane on the outside of the walls, he said. Also, workers added more downspouts to the building’s gutters.

Lockridge said the measure has solved all of the problems with leaks in the basement. He added that the company offered a 20-year guarantee.

Bids on the project were as high as $250,000, but the Seal-Tite installation cost around $36,000. The more expensive estimates, he said, generally were for more complex procedures, such as constructing a trough drainage system surrounding the property.

More works needs to be done at the building, Lockridge said, including professional mold removal and remodeling. According to a previous Bulletin article, the squad requested $95,000 from the county to help with renovation costs. Although the board of supervisors approved the funding, Lockridge said the rescue squad has not yet received the money.

The issue, he explained, is that the money is intended as a reimbursement after the renovations have been completed. However, the rescue squad does not have enough money in its coffers to cover the renovations before being reimbursed.

To further complicate matters, Lockridge said, the squad has had difficulty securing a bank loan. Because of the mold problem, the squad cannot use its building as loan collateral.

However, Lockridge said, talks with area banks are progressing now that the drainage issues have been resolved, and he believes work will be completed at the building by summer. He anticipates that the total costs of the renovations will be between $200,000 and $250,000.

The squad also looked into tearing down the building and rebuilding from scratch, he said, but “we were looking at upwards of $750,000 to rebuild,” and renovation was the more cost-effective option.


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