UCM Addresses Air Quality, Structural Issues at Selmo Park
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 1, 2014) – A structural and environmental assessment of Selmo Park, the residence of the UCM president, is prompting the University of Central Missouri to consider immediate and future measures that are required to ensure the safest living environment possible for the university president’s family and guests.
Selmo Park, built in 1866 by Edmond A. Nickerson, has been the home of the university president and his family since 1926.
Personnel from UCM Facilities, Planning and Operations have been conducting an assessment of the structure since April 3. Since that effort began, the structure also has endured significant flooding in the basement caused by recent April storms, as well as a sewage backup, which damaged the finished part of the basement and resulted in a loss of personal belongings of the family of UCM President Charles Ambrose. Damage to university-owned items, which were stored in the basement, also occurred.
Chris Bamman, FPO director, said the university has struggled to maintain a dry basement in Selmo Park for many years, which is not unusual for a home that was built in 1866. Other issues, however, indicate moisture and water may be seeping into other parts of the structure, including the main living areas.
“A significant part of the assessment was an environmental analysis conducted by Burns & McDonnell (Kansas City),” said Bamman. “This includes collecting air and surface samples for mold and other allergens throughout the structure. Results found significant mold in the basement, but there was also some indication of black mold on the main level. This seems to indicate that there is some moisture intrusion in other areas of the residence.”
Bamman said the university must now consider a plan for preventing additional moisture infiltration into the home, and attempting to remove the existing mold. He also noted additional issues at Selmo Park, including crumbling asphalt on the driveway into the residence, caused by severe weather, and repairs that are needed at some of the small outbuildings on the property.
While the ongoing environmental analysis and structural assessment has been underway, President Ambrose and his wife, Kris, have relocated and are staying in university-owned facilities at Greenwood Park. The UCM Board of Governors will continue to consider appropriate measures to address the overall safety and structural integrity of Selmo Park.
"It is imperative that all safety and health issues recently discovered at Selmo Park be addressed,” said Marvin “Bunky” Wright, board president. “The 1866 building has had structural issues in the past, and with the most recent water damage and related mold problems, the board, with help from outside professional services and expertise, will consider options to ensuring that the structure is first and foremost safe."
Selmo Park was purchased by the university’s governing board in 1926 at a cost of $35,000, and included a 19-acre block of land located two blocks west of the quadrangle. The 1866 structure built by the late Edmond A. Nickerson has remained UCM’s residence of the institution’s president since 1926. The northern part of the land that was included in the purchase eventually became Vernon Kennedy Field.