Heating, cooling system at school called inadequate

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The heating and air-conditioning system at the 2-year-old Central High School is inadequate, officials say, and the problem will cost the district $240,000 to fix.

The problem isn't new. The school has had a heating-and-cooling dilemma since it opened in 2002, principal Dr. Mike Cowan said.

"We don't know from day to day and room to room what the temperature is going to be," Cowan said. "Down one of our corridors, one room might be an extreme hot or cold, but those on both sides might be normal."

Cowan said the inconsistencies seem to occur more with air conditioning than with heating. The problem has forced the school to move classes around. During summer school, one room reached 100 degrees.

A parade of engineers and professionals have offered explanations, but no one has been able to balance the system properly, Cowan said.

The district has now signed a contract with Cape Girardeau's Control Technology and Solutions to fix the system for $239,974. However, officials say that cost will be offset by energy savings over the next 10 years.

As part of the agreement, CTS has guaranteed that the high school will see a minimum of $23,974 in annual energy cost savings because of the upgraded system.

"The system is operating the way it was designed to, but for that building it was not designed properly," said Lynne Spriggs, business manager for the district. "We're actually hoping to see an annual savings of $40,000 in energy costs."

Spriggs said the district budgeted $150,000 but spent $170,000 to heat and cool the high school last year. With the current system, it cost around $1.20 per square foot to heat or cool the building. Officials hope that the improvements will drop that cost to $1 per square foot.

Sprigg said the inside work should be done by the start of school Aug. 18, although outside work may continue until September.


335-6611, extension 128

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