Although the Middle School Center for Science and Technology is finished, Sandy Lyon, head of the middle school, hasn’t moved into her new office due to a dizziness-inducing odor.
While no one is sure of the odor’s origin, Lyon says she suspects that the new Forbo-brand corkboard is the culprit.
“For me (the odor caused) dizziness, and for others, it was a little bit of dizziness and nausea,” Lyon said.
“(The dizziness) carries on even after I’m out of there all night long, and I’m not really prone to allergies.”
However, while Lyon classifies the odor as “off-gassing,” both she and headmaster Stephen Repsher said that all of the building’s materials have low VOCs or volatile organic compounds.
According to the EPA, VOCs are “emitted gases from certain solids or liquids.” Thus, using low-VOC products would avoid most harmful off-gassing.
“(The corkboard) has been used for many years with no concerns or considerations.
“My sense is that the smell will fade just like it will with a new car,” Repsher said.
However, in a meeting with the architects, the corkboard issue was raised.
“I explained to folks that it’s used in other facilities, and that it’s a safe product,” said Repsher.
In fact, Repsher says that an identical corkboard is used in the lower-school library.
To reduce the smell, Lyon says that the heat will be turned on, but until the odor dissipates, Lyon will remain in her old office.