Southern Maine Community College to temporarily close residence hall, relocate affected students to new housing

Southern Maine Community College announced Monday that it will temporarily close one of its residence halls for the beginning of the Fall Semester following the discovery of mold and will relocate affected students to other housing.

SMCC closed Spring Point Residence Hall on Sunday to allow a team of professionals to assess the building and test the mold that had appeared on ceiling tiles and some walls. The college has made arrangements with area hotels to house the affected students until the residence hall reopens.

Spring Point Residence Hall is expected to be closed for three to four weeks while workers with a water cleanup and restoration company thoroughly clean the building, said SMCC President Joe Cassidy. Work is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

“Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our students,” Cassidy said. “While the closure of Spring Point Hall will create some inconvenience, the residence hall will be completely environmentally safe upon their return. We are offering all our support to the affected students to ensure their success at SMCC.”

All affected students will be contacted directly to make housing arrangements.

The mold was first reported last week and was brought on by a combination of a malfunctioning ventilation system and the high temperatures and humidity that Maine has experienced in recent weeks that resulted in condensation forming above the building’s ceiling tiles. Testing revealed several types of mold inside the building, and only nominal, non-threatening levels of so-called “black mold” were found. Other types of mold that were black in color were detected, but they were not the same type of mold that people associate with “black mold.”

About 60 summer students who were living in the residence hall moved out of the building on Sunday and into Surfsite Residence Hall, also located on the SMCC’s South Portland Campus. Spring Point Hall has a capacity of 320 students; Surfsite Hall’s capacity is 147 students.

Students who had signed up for housing for the Fall Semester were scheduled to begin moving into Spring Point Hall this Friday, three days before Fall Semester classes begin next Monday.

Those students will be put up temporarily in hotels in the area that are located on bus routes that lead to SMCC. Students will not move back to Spring Point Hall until the mold is completely removed, the HVAC system is repaired and independent testing ensures that it is 100 percent safe.