The Rollins community received an emailed notice of air quality issues in the Rice Family Pavilion last month. The college closed the space for the remainder of the semester.
The air quality issue was identified by occupants who experienced discomfort over the abnormal humidity in the building, which triggered an investigation into the air system.
“The building was experiencing elevated humidity levels, which appear to have led to some microbial growth on the lower levels,” Williamson said. The microbial growth remains unique to the Rice Family Pavilion and does not pose a current threat to any other building on campus.
Despite the fact that the building was in use before and at the time of the discovery, Williamson said, “We are not aware of any impact other than the loss of use of the space during this process,” referring to the health of students and staff in the proximity of the space.
While the cause of the building’s microbial growth is unknown, Rollins is working with Kustom US—a local water restoration service—to determine the cause of the issue and plan for repairs.
The Rice Family Pavilion has historically functioned for both classroom space and events organized by the college. This includes New Student Check-In, involvement fairs, and private functions such as weddings and banquet hall spaces organized through Rollins Event Services. Last year, it was renovated with the intent to hold more events.
Because of COVID-19, however, the primary use of the Rice Family Pavilion has been limited to classroom space and a meeting place for campus tours.
Megan Joyner Roach, director of Scheduling and Event Services, said that “with any closure there you should expect some financial loss.” She stressed, however, that financial loss will be minimal due to an already limited scheduling of external events.
The timeline of the repairs has yet to be finalized as investigations continue. Williamson projects that the space will be made available again in the spring semester.