Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Fungus Among Us

Anita Bluestein refers to the Social Science Building as a prison.

Bluestein, a senior secretary for the political science department, waits patiently for the elevator on a daily basis to take her and her trusted scooter to the third floor. The elevator, on the other hand, may not always be so trustworthy. Bluestein, who was born with a birth defect that limited her walking capabilities, has been confined to a scooter for 10 years.

“I’ve been carried down [the steps] about five times,” Bluestein says. “Sometimes, at 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon, they can’t always come and fix it. There have been times where I just couldn’t go.”

Bluestein is just one of a few unhappy tenants of the Social Science Building, which is located east of the Breezeway. With elevators constantly breaking and allergies arising due to mold, students and faculty alike are dissatisfied. The building, which opened in 1990, has left some faculty members unable to return.

“A lot of people have had to leave the building because of allergies,” she says. “There is a lot of mold and mildew.”

Tom Donaudy, vice president of facilities for FAU, says that there is no such thing.

“There is no evidence of mold or mildew in the building,” Donaudy says. “It’s not a sick building as far as we know.”

Despite Donaudy’s firm rejection of mold, some faculty members are persistent.

“It’s a very sick building,” Marsha Rose, director of the women’s studies center, says. “A lot of employees can’t even come back to this building because of the allergies they get from the mold. That’s why a lot of us keep air purifiers.”

Dr. Robert Watson, a political science professor, says that one of the reasons for its sickness is because it was never finished being built.

“The contractor [for the building] ran out of money,” says Watson. “FAU didn’t fund it correctly. That’s why it wasn’t finished or even painted.”

According to Donaudy, however, the building is finished, and safe.

“It’s a safe building structurally,” Donaudy says. “We don’t have a concern about the stability.”

Donaudy also says that there is an on-going maintenance effort done by the Facilities Planning department, who also work with the staff members in the building to fix their problems.

“We have worked with the occupants to address their concerns,” Donaudy says. “[But] the building has a use of life like a car. After some time, it needs to be stripped and repaired.”

The faculty are not the only ones who have problems with the building. Michael Braunstein, a senior majoring in public administration, frequently visits the building. Unfortunately, he says, he can’t help but notice it falling apart.

“Pillars are holding the building up,” Braunstein says. “It looks like it needs an update.”

Despite having so many difficulties with the building, Bluestein remains optimistic. Whenever there is a problem, she promptly submits work orders to have the elevators fixed.

The maintenance staff, she says, are usually very good about repairing the elevators and other problems with the building pretty quickly.

“They have tried and they do try,” she says. “They will do their best. They are very good about fixing everything quickly.”

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