On the move

Published 3:38 pm Sunday, August 24, 2014

GATESVILLE – GEMS (Gates Emergency Ministries) is an all volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to helping people get back on firm footing after experiencing a setback in their lives.

Now the organization is facing an emergency of its own, but not one of its own hand.

Mold discovered in the GEMS space inside the historic Rosenwald School/EIS Building located on US 158 Business on the outskirts of Gatesville will force the non-profit to relocate while the problem is rectified.

According to County Manager Natalie Rountree, a mold assessment study was performed on the building in September of last year. Seven months later, the county’s Board of Commissioners was notified by letter, which requested temporary relocation of GEMS due to the health issues at the EIC Building.

It was recommended at that time to relocate GEMS to the previous home of the Gates County Mental Health office, located on Medical Center Road. The HCAV unit at that office has been worked on, and the space is now ready to accept the temporary move.

“That’s the only identifiable spot we have at the moment that would be able to handle GEMS,” Rountree said.

As far as what needs to be done to the EIC Building, Rountree said there is a recommendation from the September 2013 study to clear the facility of mold before allowing GEMS or the general public to use the building.

“Some of those issues have been taken of, but all of it has not been remedied completely,” Rountree stated. “In order to complete the work, we first need to relocate GEMS.”

When asked how long the work would take to complete the mold removal, Rountree said that timetable would have to come via a professional opinion.

“The 2013 study recommended that an industrial hygienist come out once the work is completed and have that person resample everything that was sampled previously in that building before anyone returns to work in there,” Rountree said.

Rountree informed the commissioners that $10,000 was set aside in the current county budget to perform that work.
“Are we going to use our building and grounds crew to move GEMS and not have to incur additional expense to move them,” asked Commission Chairman Henry Jordan.

“We’ve not determined all of that yet,” Rountree said. “We need to get with GEMS to see what has to be moved and when they are ready to be moved.”

Commissioner Linda Hofler suggested reaching out to the local community – civic clubs, school groups, churches – to help move GEMS.

Food products, shelving and refrigerators/freezers are among the items needed to be moved.

The Commissioners approved a motion to begin the process of relocating GEMS from the EIC Building to the Mental Health office.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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