Padgett-Thomas Barracks

The Citadel's Padgett-Thomas Barracks is one of two barracks buildings where school officials say mold has been found. File/Staff

The Citadel is sending in cleaning crews and dehumidifiers to battle an outbreak of mold in cadet barracks buildings.

Officials at the public military college this week reported mold issues affecting hundreds of cadets' rooms, mostly in the Law and Padgett-Thomas barracks buildings.

Initial swab tests indicated the mold genus is Cladosporium, a common indoor fungus, according to the school.

Cladosporium is not often toxic but can cause allergic reactions and worsen asthma symptoms with its airborne spores.

"Unfortunately, mold issues are prevalent across the Lowcountry this fall due to the excessive heat, rain and humidity," said Col. John Dorrian, vice president for communications and marketing, in a prepared statement.

Dorrian said The Citadel has placed dehumidifiers in 230 rooms and will soon install 270 more. The college has also hired a cleaning contractor "to supplement efforts to remove mold from surfaces," Dorrian said, in addition to contractors who regularly clean and maintain air conditioning systems.

Going forward, the school says it plans to conduct additional swab and air quality tests, and to hire an engineering firm to assess the air conditioning systems in the two barracks.

Padgett-Thomas is a relatively new building on The Citadel's historic campus, built in 2004 as a near-replica of the original 1922 structure that was facing structural problems.

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Reach Paul Bowers at 843-937-5546. Follow him on Twitter @paul_bowers.

Paul Bowers is an education reporter and father of three living in North Charleston. He previously worked at the Charleston City Paper, where he was twice named South Carolina Journalist of the Year in the weekly category.