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The Sweet Home School District just got a $50,000 boost.

The district announced on April 23 that it was awarded two Technical Assistance Program (TAO) grants from the state of Oregon, each worth $25,000, to test for radon and complete a long-range facility plan.

Other districts awarded TAP grants include Lebanon Community Schools, Corvallis School District and Harrisburg School District.

All schools in the state must test for the gas by January of 2021. According to the district, the grant funds will allow testing to be completed during the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

Radon can be harmful and cause such ailments as lung cancer if breathed in at high levels for a long period of time. It has no smell or taste and is not visible and can make its way into a building through cracks or openings in foundations.

“The district plans to engage an independent professional environmental service to conduct the radon testing,” the announcement read. The testing, which will be completed in the winter, will consist of non-invasive methods including the use of an air-sample collection packet placed in classrooms and offices inside the district’s facilities.

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The district will also complete a long-range facility plan by December of 2020, a condition of accepting the second $25,000 grant.

There are seven schools in the district and according to the announcement, the district will assess current conditions of its facilities before a recommendation is made to the school board.

“The long-range facility plan will also consider what can be done to make facilities safer and more secure for students and staff members,” the announcement stated.

Sweet Home School District will form a committee allowing members of the public to take part in the planning process by evaluating the condition of the facilities, study what other districts are doing to address their facilities and then develop options for the board to consider, the district said. No method of choosing committee members has been announced.

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