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Avenue Theatre receives clean bill of health


The Avenue Theatre, a historic landmark that has stood tall for 73 years, was recently subjected to rigorous air quality tests, which it passed with flying colors, confirming the venue's healthy environment despite its age.

Archway Inspection Technologies, based out of Springfield, conducted a detailed examination of the theater’s air quality, focusing primarily on the presence of airborne mold spores, given concerns around older buildings potentially harboring harmful levels of mold.

The results were “overwhelmingly positive,” said theater officials. Two indoor samples were collected from different parts of the building and compared with an outdoor sample to determine the relative mold spore count. The first sample, sourced directly from the stage, showed a mold spore count of 959 spores per cubic meter. The second, obtained from the venue’s rear, recorded a slightly higher count of 1,014 spores per cubic meter. However, both numbers stand in sharp contrast to the outdoor sample, which boasted a count of 6,826 spores per cubic meter.

The results are “not just favorable, but outstanding,” when considering health guidelines, said theater officials. Any reading under 2,000 spores per cubic meter is deemed "healthy" and poses no risk to individuals. Furthermore, the types of mold found indoors mirrored those found outside, underscoring the absence of any unusual or harmful mold variety within the theatre's walls.

Humidity measurements, another crucial factor in mold growth and air quality, also painted a rosy picture. The building averaged a 46% humidity level. This is impressively close to the 45% benchmark, which is often championed as the "ideal" standard.

To ensure a comprehensive examination, the theatre didn't just stop at mold. Assured Bio Labs, of Oakridge, Tenn., expertly analyzed the collected samples. Their findings further strengthened the theater’s position, with other allergens and particulates tested at negligible levels.

Chris Herbolsheimer, the Avenue Theatre's executive director, expressed his relief and satisfaction with the findings, stating, "Being a 73-year-old building, many people assume there must be unhealthy amounts of mold and other allergens lurking in the shadows. While this test was somewhat cumbersome, it should conclusively dispel these rumors."

The thorough test, combined with the theater’s continued maintenance, ensures that attendees can enjoy performances without any underlying health concerns, note officials, adding, “It also speaks volumes about the Avenue Theatre's commitment to the well-being of its patrons, ensuring not just cultural nourishment, but a safe and healthy environment, too.”