Denver, CO

Denver considers adding clean air equipment at rec centers

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) The Denver City Council will consider investing in clean-air equipment at city recreation centers.

The council will vote Monday on whether to spend $850,000 with Mechanical Products NSW LLC to purchase fans and duct work for the buildings. The upgrades will help prevent the spreading of COVID-19, according to city staff. The ventilation measures would be coupled with ultraviolet germicidal irradiation technology to sterilize the facilities and stop the spread of illness.

Recreation centers spread germs due to shared exercise equipment and meeting spaces. The city will use American Rescue Plan Act or ARPA money to pay for the sterilization measures.

The city closed all recreation centers in 2020 when the COVID epidemic began. During that time, maintenance workers changed the settings on the HVAC equipment to "unoccupied" to save energy costs.

Three rec centers revamped pre-COVID

Also, during that time, three bond projects paid for HVAC upgrades at St. Charles, Scheitler, and La Familia recreation centers. Because the upgrades were designed pre-COVID, they did not include ultraviolet sterilization equipment.

The plans called for upgrading and replacing old electrical equipment that no longer functioned, according to a memo to the council from city staff. "Moving to 2021 when the recreation centers re-opened, with reduced budgets, parks (department) was only able to change filters more frequently to try to increase ventilation where we could."

UV equipment used in medical facilities

The Parks Department determined that disinfection equipment is the best way to keep buildings safe and healthy.

"The UV equipment is essentially the same type of equipment used in medical facilities to help decrease the spread of SARS-CoV-2 as well as bacterial and fungal organisms," according to the memo.

The city plans to install the equipment at 16 recreation centers, including six designated emergency shelters, two senior centers, and three parks maintenance shops.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here.

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