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Milltown Town Hall vacated, once again

September 11, 2013
Employees who work in the Milltown Town Hall have again been displaced due to a possible mold problem that has plagued the facility for the last several months.

Employees and town officials became suspicious of another possible mold outbreak within the building again in August when Clerk-treasurer Susan Mills became ill. Her symptoms mirrored those she had experienced previously when the town had to close the building for several months.

"The guys aren't in here as much," Mills said. "I'm the one who's in here every day, and I got really sick."

Town manager Jim Pevlor said officials decided to be proactive about the situation and moved the town office to the old police station located along Poplar Street.

On Sept. 3, representatives from the Indiana State Department of Health traveled to Milltown to test the facility. The check was the next step in routine maintenance for the building. It is part of an ongoing action plan the town implemented when the mold breakout first occurred in early 2013.

"They came to run some tests on the building as part of the follow-up," Pevlor said. "They came out when we were having it cleaned out the first time and ran some tests, and they recommended that it be tested again in several months."

The test results are expected to be returned by mid-September.

Curt Hudson, president of the Milltown Town Council, said, though they've been trying to stay on top of things, there have been problems with water and leaking for some time.

"We've fixed everything that we've seen in the walls that can be fixed so far," he said. "On the other hand, there were other water issues that happened for years and years besides that, we believe."

Officials have speculated that it is possible there could be mold trapped within the duct work of the system; however, at this time, it's simply speculation, though the office has been relocated as a proactive safety measure.

"We think it might be the same problem as before," Pevlor said, "but we won't know for sure until we get the test results back."

After those results are returned, it will be up to the town council to decide what happens next.

While it sits adjacent to the projected floodplain that runs through town, the building hasn't flooded since 2008, when high water filled the basement.

Before the employees' previous displacement earlier this year, work was done to renovate parts of the building. The facility's basement, offices and storage space have all seen changes.

Mold can occur when a building has experienced water damage and can often grow within closed spaces of buildings for many years with little to no outward signs.

Many modern and older re-purposed buildings that have utilized wood, drywall and wallpaper within the structure are prone to molding due to the ability for moisture to become trapped within the materials.

"It's a historic building," Hudson said. " It's been a good building for us."

The building has a long history and began as the First National Bank of Milltown in Indiana in 1907.

"We don't want to lose this building," Hudson said. "We want to try to make sure we do what we need to do to keep that building so that we can not just have it, but also use it."

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