The $6.8 million Blue Earth Area kindergarten through eighth grade building heating, ventilation and air conditioning project is nearing completion.
Ryan Hoffman with ICS Consulting, Inc., attended the regular School Board meeting on Monday, Aug. 12 to give an update.
Hoffman says that the project has progressed very well and that there were portions of the project that were originally taken out due to the tight budget, that they have been able to do.
"We're going to have many of the classrooms, if not all of them, completely repainted," says Hoffman. "It's definitely going to feel like each classroom is a new classroom."
On top of that, there have been lighting fixtures that have been added into the project scope as well as putting in dropped ceilings.
Hoffman says that during the first few days of school, the kids will notice how cold the rooms are. This is because there will be an adjustment period while they find the right temperature for each room with the new system.
"They might be wearing sweatshirts to school when it's 85 degrees outside," says Hoffman.
The desired temperature will be adjusted in order to house the students comfortably, but it may be cool to begin with.
"The system itself will be more energy efficient than the system you had previously," says Hoffman.
In spite of this efficiency, Hoffman informed the board that the electric bills may increase because the school will be utilizing more classrooms than previously because they will be properly heated or cooled.
A plus side to the system is that each classroom can be controlled so that if it is not in use, then the school can shut off the heat or air conditioning to that room.
The project is wrapping up at the end of next week. According to Superintendent Evan Gough, there is work to be done yet in the boiler room because of the late shutdown. The work there is expected to be completed by mid September.
After the September School Board meeting, there will be a tour of the completed construction.
In other business:
the new teacher workshop is set for Aug. 22 and 23;
a district-wide welcome back will be held at the high school at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 27;
Sept. 4 will be a back to school picnic at 5 p.m.;
the board approved memberships with the Minnesota School Board Association for $4,899 and South Central Services Cooperative for $1,955; and
the annual bids for the bakery, dairy, waste removal, snow removal, softener salt, fuel oil, gasoline and diesel were approved by the board.