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UNCW remediating ‘microbial growth’ at University Film Center

Remediation contractors have been working on the University Film Center on UNCW's campus.
Remediation contractors have been working on the University Film Center on UNCW's campus.

The University said it discovered a “humidity control issue” in late August, and is currently undertaking remediation efforts that will take another two weeks. UNCW said contractors found evidence of microbial growth, which could be mildew and/or mold — and are undertaking remediation efforts to address both.

According to the University of North Carolina Wilmington, contractors found evidence of microbial growth, which the university said, “can typically be mildew and/or mold in Southeastern NC due to humidity.”

Contractors are in the midst of a remediation project at the University Film Center (UFC) to address that growth, which includes removing mildew from the building's exterior and “thorough, industrial cleaning inside the building.”

Much of that work has been completed, according to UNCW.

“Remediation has been completed in all areas of the building, except for one. The cinema room is still being treated. That space requires more treatment time because it has a lot of soft surfaces on the floors and walls. It has isolated ductwork, so it does not affect the rest of the building,” according to a spokesperson. 

Several UNCW students who spoke to WHQR said they were told by contractors that they should not be in the UFC building. Asked if the university had any health concerns for students who had been in the building, a spokesperson said the issue was recontaminating the facility.

"Different people can have very different responses to microbial growth; e.g. some people have no response to exposure, others may have itchy eyes or throat, and a few have more serious reactions. We moved classes out of the building during remediation so contractors could do a thorough cleaning. The companies we hire for testing and remediation are required to certify the cleanliness. When untrained people enter and exit the building, they potentially re-contaminate the building as microbial growth exists in the environment. A failed inspection requires more cleaning at a substantial cost to the University," according to UNCW.

The University Film Center opened last year, boasting a 4,000-square-foot soundstage, an 80-seat theater, and 24/7 access to high-end production equipment.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.