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Paradise Place Preschool working to alleviate high radon concerns

Some students moved over to UCC

by Mark Reaman

Mitigation work should be completed by Friday, November 4 to address a high radon level reading at the Paradise Place Preschool. Kevin Donovan of MB Builders, a certified radon mitigation contractor, is in charge of the work.

Radon levels higher than those considered normal were discovered this fall in the Maroon Avenue basement of the Paradise Place Preschool. As a result, the students were moved from the downstairs classrooms in the preschool building to the Union Congregational Church across the street.

According to Paradise Place Preschool executive director Ben Poswalk, a short-term radon test conducted in late August/early September showed a reading of 7.3 pCI/L (pico Curies per liter of air). The Environmental Protection Agency recommends taking action if radon levels are measured above 4.0 pCI/L.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is colorless and odorless. It is common in all 50 states but Colorado is ranked sixth in the nation for high radon levels. Radon enters buildings through the foundation and crawl spaces and collects, thus causing high levels to be found in many houses in Colorado.

“We moved the Whales class, which was located in the school basement, over to the UCC,” explained Poswalk. “So eight to 12 kids are now there, depending on the day. Once Kevin installs the radon mitigation system, and that should be completed Friday, we will not only retest the basement for radon but we will have a constant monitoring system in place. That system will act much like a smoke or [carbon monoxide] detector.”

Consumer protection specialist with the Gunnison County Health and Human Services department Heidi Lovett also wrote a letter to the parents of the students. “Yes, [the radon level] is higher than recommended, but Gunnison County has an average radon level within houses of 6 to 7 pCI/L,” she wrote. “I will also urge you to take a look at your own home where we tend to spend the majority of our time. Many houses in Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley have high Radon levels, as high as 80 to 120 pCI/L. It is recommended to test your home every three years or after any major construction, including reinsulating.”

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