Physical plant challenges at Rexford-Longfellow
By Erik Buchinger
Clintonville School District Director of Buildings and Grounds Steve Reinke discussed the physical plant challenges of the Rexford-Longfellow Elementary School prior to the upcoming referendum on April 4.
Reinke said heating is among the biggest issues at the current elementary school.
“With the age of it, the steam systems are generally 25 percent more expensive to run than the newer hot water systems,” Reinke said. “When we were in the boiler room the other night, it was 98 degrees in there. In the winter, if it’s 10 below out, we have water that freezes in the faucets because there’s so much air coming in to run the boiler, so it’s very hard to control.”
The school has two boilers, but one is used at a time.
According to Reinke, the classroom thermostats are difficult to control, and some of the older parts are hard to find.
“The thermostats that run the classrooms to control the temperatures are pneumatic systems that run on air compressors,” Reinke said. “That type of technology isn’t used anymore, and it’s harder to get parts, and servicemen aren’t getting trained on that. When we’re looking at this project, we’re looking at the next 25 years, so we want to update to be able to take care of those needs.”
Temperature control is difficult to control during the school year, and most rooms in the building lack air conditioning for the summer months.
“It’s just very hard to control the heat in those buildings,” Reinke said. “The heat is radiating off the univents in those classrooms. There’s so much excess heat that is radiating around that it’s hard to control the heat. In the summer time, of course there’s no air conditioning in most of the classrooms.”
Reinke said the electricity in the 1918 portion is difficult to manage due to its age, and it is difficult to find items to replace it.
“We don’t have enough outlets in the classrooms,” Reinke said. “The main breakers themselves in the basement are out of date and be hard to find if one of those went.”
According to Reinke, the water quality passes due to the elimination of a well, but city lines can cause rust in the filter, which has been an issue at the high school as well.
“The building itself, waterlines are copper,” Reinke said. “We had that all checked and had a study done. Most of the issues came from that well that they abandoned. Ever since they eliminated that well, the water quality passes. When we get the filters full of rust, that’s coming from city lines. We have the same issue at the high school when we set our filters for the pool and ice maker.”
While the building uses city lines, Reinke said there would be a much better chance of lead-free water with a new system because none of the new fixtures would have lead.
If the referendum passes, there will likely be a sprinkler system in the building, which there currently is not.
According to Reinke, insulation is an issue in classrooms.
“The windows throughout the whole building is just a single pane of 1/8 inch of glass is what’s between the outside an inside,” Reinke said. “With an aluminum frame, that’s not insulated, so there’s very little insulated values in those windows, and it gets drafty.”
Reinke said there would need to be parts of the outside of the building that would need to be replaced with the tuck pointing, which holds the brick together.
“In the 1918 portion, there are more windows that would need to be re-bricked and redone,” Reinke said. “There are large cracks where the tuck pointing needs to be replaced.”
Without a new building, part of the elementary school would likely need to replace the roof mainly on the 1918 portion likely in the next five years, Reinke said.
The Clintonville Tribune-Gazette will continue coverage of a potential new elementary school leading up to the April 4 referendum.