Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 9, 2016

Chilly days make it the perfect time to talk air conditioning

MP School Board take hard look at facts, figures for cooling elementary schools
Nov 30, 2016
Photo by: Brooks Taylor The Mt. Pleasant School Board met Monday night for a work session. During the session, the board heard from representatives from RDG Planning & Design regarding placing air conditioning in the district’s four elementary schools. The firm identified Van Allen, seen above, as the most expensive to outfit. The firm also stated Van Allen had structural repairs that would need to be fixed before cooling could be placed.

BY KARYN SPORY

Mt. Pleasant News

As the air begins to chill, most people begin to think about heating systems. Not the Mt. Pleasant School Board as their work session Monday night was all about air conditioning.

Air conditioning the district’s four elementary schools has been a priority of the board. Earlier this fall, the board approved expenditures for a feasibility study for air conditioning the four schools. On Monday, during a work session, the board heard from representatives from RDG Planning & Design, based in Des Moines, about the possible project.

The three representatives from RDG Planning & Design, Scotney Fenton, restoration; Gerry Wilwerding, mechanical engineer; and Mike Chambers, engineer took the board members school by school, discussing the current system and what they believed might work in its place.

“The results of that assessment are here,” began Chambers. “And what we also did was evaluate multiple systems for each facility. We put some best guess estimate numbers with each one of those scenarios.”

The board was presented three different heating and air conditioning options – Variable Refigerant Flow (VRF), chiller and steam heat and geothermal – as well as several variations of each option that might work best with each individual building’s retrofitting.

Costs varied by building and option. For Harlan, costs ranged from $569,000 to $814,330. For Van Allen, costs were estimated between $861,600 to about $1.2 million. Lincoln came in at $560,630 - $802,280 and Salem would be the cheapest at costs ranging from $310,800 to $478,400.

During his report, Fenton said he had concerns regarding Van Allen.

“Over the last three years, you’ve noticed the increasing problem with the interior brick walls,” he said. “What I saw, it’s a real pressing problem.”

He continued, “I work with buildings over 100 years old often and these were some of the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Fenton said there was significant water damage to the walls.

When pressed, Fenton said he would not recommend putting in a new heating and cooling system until the issues at Van Allen were fixed.

One concern the school board had was asbestos.

“We didn’t address (the asbestos) in the report because it’s outside our scope of work,” said Chambers.

However, at the board’s request, price estimates for asbestos abatement would be included in the executive summary of the report.

Board member Melinda Huisinga also requested the firm notate what their recommendations for each building would be in the final report.

In other business, prior to the work session, the board convened for a special session. During the special session, Huisinga was reappointed to fill the vacancy for the Director District 2 position. Following a canvas of votes from the Nov. 8 General Election, the seat was declared vacant, and as Huisinga was the only applicant for the position, she was unanimously approved.

The board also approved requesting Modified Supplemental Funds of $87,665.60 for an increase in open enrolled out students and $62,350.86 for ELL (English Language Learners) students in the program beyond five years.

The school board will meet in regular session on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, at 6 p.m., in the high school media center.

 

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