Wood floor in municipal building basement should come out, according to contractor

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  The contractor who will be cleaning the Colfax Municipal Building basement to remove mold is recommending that the wooden floor boards be taken out.

Jackie Ponto, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, reported to the Colfax Village Board at the August 26 meeting that the person from Air MD Restoration Inc. who will be working on the basement says the wooden floor boards should be removed before the cleaning is started.

Ponto said she has called a variety of contractors, but so far, no one has been interested in taking on the job.

Because of moisture problems in the municipal building basement, the maple floor boards are buckled in places.

Annie Schieber, village trustee, wondered if the lack of interest was due to the amount of mold in the basement or simply because none of the contractors have the time or desire to do the work.

Ponto said she had called the gentleman from Boyceville who had worked on the floor in the municipal building auditorium because he also restores and reuses old wood but that he had not yet returned her telephone call.

“It is not necessary to take out the wood floor, but it will not be as effective for cleaning,” Ponto said.

The municipal building basement has a concrete sub-floor underneath the wood floor, noted Scott Gunnufson, village president.

Schieber wondered if the concrete could simply be painted after the wood floor is removed.

Schieber also pointed out that it did not make much sense to remove only some of the wall covering in the basement.

The bid for nearly $17,000 from Air MD Restoration approved by the village board at the August 12 meeting included removing the lower four feet of wall covering in certain areas of the basement.

Removing all of the wall covering was not in the bid and would be an additional cost, Ponto said.

Beverly Schauer, village trustee, wondered if the basement would be usable once it is cleaned and the mold is removed.

“The next step is to figure out what we will do with it,” Ponto said.

The bid included removing Sheetrock but not replacing it, and the second step, after the basement is cleaned and the mold mitigated, is to consider refinishing the basement, Gunnufson said.

The municipal building basement has not been used in nearly 15 years.

At one time, the municipal building basement was used as a meeting place for a variety of groups, such as the Dunn County Barbershoppers, girl scouts, and 4-H clubs.

The municipal building basement also was used for church craft sales, was used as the senior nutrition site, was used for numerous blood drives by the American Red Cross and used as a triage center for the injured during the Colfax tornado in June of 1958.

Mold is believed to be causing health problems for at least some of the village employees who work in the building.

Cleaning the municipal building basement to remove mold is expected to begin on September 16.