Full laboratory testing results of samples taken from the Missoula YMCA’s Learning Center day care — where an employee who allegedly was smoking methamphetamine was arrested last week — showed all classrooms were clean of drug residue.
Other areas at the facility did test positive, however, interim Missoula Family YMCA executive director Heather Foster wrote in a news release.
Autumn Heinz, 30, was charged with felonies for drug possession, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal mischief after police were called to the Learning Center last week.
Charging documents against Heinz said that last week, a coworker approached a manager of the Learning Center saying she believed Heinz was using drugs while on break at work. Police were called and found what was termed a “drug den” in a hollowed-out cabinet in the laundry room of the Learning Center.
An officer also located a case containing a glass pipe and a tube of a crystalline substance that tested positive for methamphetamine.
Heinz worked for the Learning Center for the past three years in its infant section, handling babies from 6 weeks to 18 months old.
While court records said the tester later told police every room at the Learning Center had tested positive for meth residue, including the infant room, Foster’s release, issued on Friday, said that was not the case.
Lee Yelin, owner of drug detection and remediation company Water Rights Inc., collected 25 samples from around the Learning Center last week, testing five for instantaneous results, all of which showed evidence of contamination. The rest of the samples were sent to a Utah lab for testing.
In a letter to Foster, Yelin said laboratory test results showed no detection of meth residue in the pre-kindergarten bathroom, electrical room and classroom.
The employee bathroom test nearly 1,000 times more than the state standard for contamination that requires cleanup. Yelin suggested to Foster that the employee bathroom as well as the laundry room and kitchen be sealed off until they are cleaned of contamination. The air ventilation system that served those rooms will also need to be cleaned, he wrote.
Foster’s release said the Y will be hiring the contractor to clean the entire facility, including the areas that did not have residue found in the testing. After the cleaning, the Learning Center will be re-tested, certified and inspected by the health department and the state licensing agency.
The YMCA estimates the full cleanup will take at least a month.
“We want to thank our Learning Center families, our YMCA members, and all of Missoula for their outpouring of support and understanding,” Foster wrote in the news release. “Though this has been a devastating time, we have been overwhelmed by support and love from so many. We are truly humbled to be a part of this incredible community.”
All families whose children used the Learning Center have been notified of the test results, and the YMCA will be using its main campus for child care while the cleanup continues.