Black mold infestation leads to future new campus at Weed Elementary School

Shareen Strauss
Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers
Weed Elementary School principal/superintendent Jon Ray stands in front of his campus with a rendering of how the school will look from the same spot after it is rebuilt. The school will be torn down and rebuilt due to health risks found in the buildings last year.

After dangerous black mold was found in Weed Elementary School's buildings, the district is constructing a new, state-of-the-art campus. 

People in the neighborhood of the school are seeing bulldozers and ground movers working in the school's field. This summer, portable module buildings as an interim temporary campus will be popping up for the next school year as the school will be torn down and rebuilt due to black mold and other structural noncompliance issues. 

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In October 2020, the school's main building, quad rooms, and music room were found to be contaminated with black mold in the walls and closed down. Inspections showed that the 60s style construction of the school's buildings that were designed for Southern California has open rafters and can not meet the snow load compliance. It was also found that the building that houses the water boiler not only contains asbestos and lead paint, but is also not seismically sound. So that building, too, will be replaced.  

The state formula is that if the estimated repairs exceed 50%, it is required for the buildings to be torn down and rebuilt. 

WES principal and superintendent Jon Ray said the facilities are health risks for his 350 students and staff, so they are bringing in 16 portable classrooms. In September, construction will begin on a new cafeteria in a new location which will also house a multipurpose room. By April 2022, they can move into the new cafeteria and start construction on the rest of the classrooms.  

A back hoe works in the area where portable classrooms will sit until Weed Elementary Schoo's new campus can be complete as principal/superintendent Jon Ray looks on.

In the early 90s, portable classrooms were brought in to accommodate the school's growth, but again, it has a Southern California design with flat roofs. 

Ray said now there is light at the end of the tunnel. The old asbestos water pipes are being replaced and the new school building will have 21st Century heating and air for a post-Covid air system. The school main entrance will have an archway similar to the Weed Downtown archway but with an actual view of the mountain. There will be an outside amphitheater, new separate playgrounds to accommodate the different classes, and the walkways will be heated and have an overhang for students in snowy weather.  

Using local agencies, the plans are in place, and the new school will hopefully be completed by April 2023.