Ongoing issues with the heating and cooling system at the Black River Educational Center have forced the administration to take immediate action to correct it before the cold weather hits.
A special Black River school board meeting was held Oct. 28 to side-step state legal requirements for bidding out contractor jobs. In an emergency vote, the board entered a contract with Temptek Systems Corporation.
Starting in July 2014, district officials began noticing and trying to address problems with the three pumps in the HVAC system at the elementary school. The pumps distribute water throughout the system, heating or cooling the building.
Two of the three help circulate water for the heating system, according to superintendent Chris Clark.
Both pumps had the potential for failure, which could cause the school to close in the winter months.
“I’m not willing to take that chance,” Clark said.
The quickly-approaching winter is why the district had to expedite the bidding process: “If we didn’t have winter on the horizon we would have handled this differently, probably,” he said.
The district has already spent more than $30,000 trying to fix the problem. But it turns out education officials weren’t addressing the right part of the system.
“We’ve been troubleshooting the end product,” Clark said. “The circulating system is part of the problem.”
The company began working to fix the pumps Monday and is expected to take about a month to complete the project. Three pumps, a strainer, and the pressure read system will be addressed.
“There were no gauges on the system so we never knew if it was operating efficiently,” he said. “Basically our goal is to have everything done before Christmas break.”
Fixing the HVAC system is expected to cost the district $68,862.
Clark said the district didn’t budget for the repairs and is looking into trimming spending elsewhere to offset the cost.
“We would rather not make a large cut in any one area,” he said.
Cutting staff or eliminating a sport is not an option for the district, he added.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.