The Westbrook Performing Arts Center at the middle school will be closed until mold is removed. Robert Lowell/American Journal

The Westbrook Performing Arts Center at the middle school will be closed for the next three to four months while work is done to remove mold.

Classes at the middle school resumed as scheduled last week after a buildingwide inspection found that the mold was isolated to the art center’s main theater, two dressing rooms, an office and an adjacent hallway, according to Westbrook Superintendent Peter Lancia. No airborne contamination was found.

Principal Laurie Wood said this week that no school activities or events will be canceled because of the mold.

“We have been able to safely move any events we had scheduled for the PAC to other areas of the school like the gym,” Wood said.

“A handful of non-school performances” scheduled for the arts center were canceled or postponed, said the venue’s general manager, Jamie Grant.

Portland Ballet is relocating its production of “Tales by Poe,” Grant said, and Portland Ovations is moving its school-time performance of “It’s Okay to Be Different” to Merrill Auditorium in Portland.


“While I’m extremely disappointed we can’t host these events, these are two of our most valued presenters and I’m happy they were able to secure other spaces and still hold these performances for their audiences,” Grant said.

The mold was discovered during routine maintenance in August.

“It was likely caused by a combination of high humidity this summer and a failure of the air mechanical system that is dedicated to the PAC,” Lancia said. “Visual inspections were conducted by trained environmental hygienists, including air quality evaluations in the impacted areas.”

Areas where surface mold was detected have been cleaned and “sampling results indicate there is no airborne contamination,” he said.

Ongoing inspections, sampling and heightened cleaning will be conducted as needed, he said.

Lancia said he doesn’t yet know how much the mold mitigation will cost, but it is “likely six figures.”

School Department Finance Director Brian Mazjanis said Tuesday, “We will be reviewing our insurance policy to determine if this will be a covered expense. We don’t have a solid lock on the numbers and scope of the cleanup, but those should be coming in the next week or so.”

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