GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Ascent Classical Academy, a charter school moving to Grand Junction, has been questioned on their efforts to remediate lead poisoning from the building they are moving into, the former Rocky Mountain Gun Club.
According to Mayo Clinic, lead poisoning can show up as several different symptoms, including developmental delay and learning difficulties.
Gabi Johnston, media relations manager for toxicology of CDPHE, agrees, saying in this email, lead can affect physical or mental development, among other symptoms when ingested by kids.
She adds lead poisoning is hard to detect until a dangerous amount is “accumulated in the body.”
Gabi says, “the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is supporting the Mesa County Public Health department to ensure the former indoor gun range is appropriately remediated.”
Mesa County Public Health implements and enforces the rules CDPHE establishes.
With that said, Mesa County Public Health needs to approve the school for occupation by students and staff.
Allison Howe, public information officer for MCPH, tells me “the process is ongoing. MCPH continues to work with Ascent Academy to make sure they are meeting minimum standards before students come in.”
Ascent Classical Academy now addresses the issue in a statement saying flooring, ceiling tiles, and ductwork have been replaced to help with any possible lead contamination.
The testing from VERTEX, the company contracted by Ascent Classical Academy, is now available on Ascent’s website.
Anne Landman, a concerned Grand Junction citizen and investigative journalist, counts 30 of the 66 areas tested rise above the 10 micrograms per square foot limit Vertex and Housing and Urban Development deems to be safe.
However, the CDC claims “no safe blood lead level in children has been identified.”
The Vertex report shows both tests done on the ground surrounding the building fell well below the suggested guideline, yet the highest sample was 230 micrograms in one square foot on the floor of “the room south of range.” That test was done on the fourteenth of last month.
Vertex primarily used a wipe-sampling method for testing, as well as visual inspection. In the report, Vertex states “thus, the possibility exists that lead-in-dust concentrations on surface locations not sampled during an assessment may be in excess of HUD and/or CDPHE Regulation 19 cleanup standards.”
The school plans to open on September 5th, serving grades K-8. There are modulars now in the gravel on the property, but the building itself remains under construction as of August 22nd.