When teachers and students embark on the 2014-15 school year at Little Wolf High School, they may have air conditioning to keep them cool on hot days.
The Buildings and Grounds Committee has met twice over the last two weeks to discuss a proposal from August Winter & Sons, Inc. for a new heating and cooling system at LWHS. The first meeting took place, Thursday, March 27 and centered around the results of the heating/cooling HVAC investigation recently conducted on the building.
The investigation was needed to determine the integrity of the current system — including the ductwork and whether it would hold up with the new units, or if it had to be replaced. Little Wolf High School currently does not have air conditioning.
“The findings were very good,” said John Haines, a representative from August Winter & Sons. “For the age of that ductwork it was in phenomenal shape.”
Haines said some ductwork needs to be repaired, but it wouldn’t involve major repairs. He also said all the exhaust fans in the current system need to be replaced.
Haines brought to the committee’s attention the current situation involving locker rooms. The way the current system is setup air is transferred from the locker room through a stairwell. This method of air transfer is not up to code, he said.
To fix that problem the proposed new system would transfer air through a shaft, which was used in the past as the intake for a generator that used to be down there.
Haines says duct cleaning also needs to take place — the inside of the ductwork, as well as cleaning the plenum in the ceiling, which is the area between the ceiling tiles and the ceiling above them.
“The plenum in the ceiling is extremely, extremely dirty,” he said. “It’s common. There’s areas of two inches of dust.”
The estimated cost to clean the inside of the ductwork is $15,500. The estimated cost to clean the plenum in the ceiling is $32,000.
Board President, Kurt Kreklow asked what would happen if the cleaning wasn’t done.
Haines said the concern would be once the bigger heating and cooling rooftop units are installed, they would start sucking the dust out of the plenum. This would require the constant replacement of filters.
A two-inch copper gas line in the plenum area of the ceiling was also brought to the committee’s attention. Haines said this line should not be installed where it is, and the joints need to be upgraded.
“My suggestion is to take that gas line and run it on the roof like the rest of them are,” he said.
The proposal included an estimate of $30,800 to replace that gas line with a new line installed on the roof. The high cost is due to having to run the gas line the length of the building because of the location of gas service on only one side of the building
When the Buildings and Grounds Committee met again, Monday, April 7, Paul Sturm, a school board member, asked if that was the least expensive way to solve the code issue with the gas pipe. Sturm suggested contacting the gas company to see if it would install gas service on the opposite side of the building so the long run of pipe wouldn’t be needed on the roof.
Haines said the best solution to provide air conditioning to the gym involved upsizing the two current heating units. These units were added in 2011 but can’t be used elsewhere in the project because they are not equipped to handle air conditioning.
Kreklow asked if a credit could be received for these two units since they are about only three years old. Haines said they could possibly be sold, but he didn’t know what amount they could be sold for.
The original proposal included a base bid of $680,000 plus the cost to replace the copper gas pipe, the cost of duct cleaning, $47,500 for the installation of a new four-ton rooftop unit for the office, $31,800 to install 15 new exhaust fans, and roughly $145,171 for four energy recovery units.
At the meeting on March 27, Haines said he thought he could reduce the $145,171 amount, but needed more time to do research. The estimate he submitted at the April 7 meeting included $127,900 for the four energy recovery units. If energy recovery units are part of the final project, the cost for exhaust fans would decrease because not as many would be needed.
The proposal Haines submitted at the March 27 meeting also didn’t include air conditioning for the addition that was added to the high school in 1995. There are no cooling coils in the current units for that section of the building.
The committee asked Haines to provide a new proposal, one that also included air conditioning in the 1995 section of the building. Haines presented the new proposal at the April 7 meeting. The proposal called for air conditioning to be added to the two air handling units that are part of the 1995 building addition. The cost for this is estimated to be $102,900.
“The way it looks to us is somebody had planned for potentially putting air coils in those units because the pads are big enough for it,” Haines said.
In total, it is estimated that the total project would cost around $1 million.
The district is discussing the possibility of using an energy efficiency exception to borrow the money for the project. Options were to be discussed at a Finance Committee meeting.
The Buildings and Grounds Committee will meet again soon to further discuss options before it makes a recommendation to the entire school board. For the project to be completed by the start of the 2014-15 school year, final approval is needed within the next couple of weeks.