Mold causes closure of St. Charles East High School in 2001

By Sara Adams

In March 2001, St. Charles East High School encountered problems with mold in its building and administrators were forced to close the school to remove all the mold from the building.

The high school hired experts to take care of the issue. Repairs included gutting the building and cleaning from top to bottom.

In the end, the clean-up process took 10 months and cost $29 million.

“We were in there with Q-Tips and toothbrushes cleaning everything,” said Tom Hernandez, director of communication for the St. Charles school district. “You could have eaten off the floor.”

Students on the east campus were sent to the west campus for the remainder of the school year.

“We had 4,500 kids in a building designed for 2,000,” Hernandez said.

The following school year, high school students were transferred to the middle school to take classes and middle school students attended classes on a mobile campus.

Bob Albanese, NIU’s vice president of finance and facilities, said if NIU ran into a serious enough problem as St. Charles High School’s situation, students probably would be evacuated from the halls and moved into the Holmes Student Center so a clean-up could be done as quickly as possible.