Kiowa city building dealing with mold

KIOWA, Kan. (KSNW) - Kiowa's city building is full of mold and fiberglass. The town's city manager said the safety hazard could cost up to $250,000 to repair. The building is arguably one of the busiest in the small Kiowa town but also one of the oldest.

"This building dates back to 1929," said Kiowa City Manager Lou Leone. "Back then, buildings didn't have to be ADA approved, not even sure if that was around in the early 1900's."

Additionally, the only structural change that the building has received in the past 80 years is mold that plagues more than 40 percent of the current roof. Leone said the mold has been present for at least two years.

'We've been handling a lot out here," said Leone. "Between the storms and other things we had to make priority, getting an inspector out here to really access this building hasn't been at the top of the list."

Three weeks ago, Leone sounded the alarm, calling out an inspector and bringing his finding to the city council.

"I was there just a few days after some pretty heavy rainfall," said inspector, David Moreland of American Metropolitan Environmental Inc. "I did find areas where ceiling material and building materials were still wet and also visibly moldy."

Some of the mold is hidden between walls, the floor and the very top of the roofing, but there was also a large portion of the mold that you could easily see, just by looking up.

"This whole time we've been exposed to this, and it's not just us," he explained. "It's the general public because you don't know how people are going to react to things."

Between the mold and fiberglass within the small confines of the Kiowa city building, Leone says some people have claimed to get sick after coming inside. Leone even admits to having some health problems of his own.

"I've noticed myself that my left eye swells a little bit more," he said. "It could be the fiberglass in the air that's actually clogging pores."

City council was presented with the inspection documents, showing the extensive amount of mold and fiberglass found in the building. The inspectors suggestion included relocating or completely rebuilding the city building from the ground up. The architect for the Park City city hall is set to visit Kiowa to suggest options.

"This is a step in the right direction," said Leone.

The current estimate to completely clean out the mold and fiberglass is at $240,000.

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