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Chemistry Students Help Prepare for Six New Playgrounds

Loyola press release - February 12, 2007

(New Orleans) This past January, Loyola University New Orleans chemistry students Hunter Fontenot, Robert Hartsock, Ashley Melancon, and Mary Spulak volunteered to collect and prepare soil samples for heavy metal testing. The soil samples came from the future playground sites of six area elementary schools, Banneker, Behrman, Ben Franklin Math & Science, Dibert, Einstein Charter, and McDonough 32.

The chemistry student volunteers worked with Troy Peloquin, director of volunteers and donations for the Recovery School District, Pierre Burnside, manager of the inorganic laboratory at Tulane's Coordinated Instrumentation Facility, and Dr. Lynn Koplitz, professor of chemistry at Loyola University New Orleans. In order to make sure playgrounds were not built on contaminated sites, lead and arsenic levels in the soil around the elementary schools were determined by x-ray fluorescence analysis. The volunteers donated a total of about 40 person-hours to this community service project.

Playgrounds, volunteers, and funds are being contributed to these six public elementary schools by Fannie Mae and KaBOOM! KaBOOM! has also waived the usual community contribution for the schools along the Gulf Coast that were damaged by the 2005 hurricanes. One thousand volunteers will build the six playgrounds in a single day, February 13, 2007.

Loyola University New Orleans is a Jesuit-Catholic institution with a total student enrollment of 4,724 including 800 law students.