By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Out with the old and in with the new.
That’s what’s going on at Chase County Schools as contractors begin a $2.661 million project to totally revamp the heating and cooling system at the school.
Unit ventilators from 73 rooms in the school are beginning to pile up outside as the old ones are torn out to make way for the new ones.
Gary Voss of Lincoln, project supervisor for TRANE of Omaha, said they have made good progress since starting the project Tuesday, May 29.
The old boilers have all been removed along with two air handler units with one to go, and work is progressing on the room ventilator units.
Geothermal hybrid unit
Voss said CCS schools will be only the second school in the state to incorporate a geothermal unit in their heating and cooling system. Hershey did so three years ago.
Overall, he said the new system will be far more energy efficient.
Voss explained that a well will be drilled outside of the boiler room. The system will pull water from the well for both heating and cooling and discharge water back into the same well.
With the constant temperature of water, heat units can be pulled from the water during the heating season with heat units being transferred back to the water in the cooling season.
There will also be two backup boilers for heating and an outside air-cooled heat exchanger to assist with cooling.
When the school was built, the heating and cooling system included just two pipes to each ventilator. Today, a four-pipe system would be used—one pair for heating and one pair for cooling.
However, he said it’s unfeasible to install a four-pipe system now.
With a two-pipe system, that made temperature control a real challenge on days when heat would be needed in the morning and cooling in the afternoon.
Voss said the new unit ventilators installed in the rooms will have the capability to bring in fresh air for cooling on those days when the water lines are full of hot water for heating.
In addition, the classrooms will now have carbon dioxide sensors to measure air quality. If the carbon dioxide in a room rises too high, the ventilator will automatically open a flue to bring in fresh air into the room.
Auditorium should be quiet
Voss said one of the goals of the project was to reduce the noise level in the auditorium. Now, when the units are turned on for cooling, the noise generated by the units makes it difficult to hear performances.
To reduce the noise, the air handling units will be placed outside of the building with air brought in through new duct work. That should help significantly, Voss said.
Work is progressing on a smooth pace and things will look a lot different in just another two weeks, Voss added.
Bonds to pay for project
The project will be paid for using bonds through the school’s Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund, which is outside the school’s General Fund.
If the total amount is bonded, based on the school district’s current valuation, it would add a levy of around 5.15 cents per $100 valuation.
CCS is limited to a 5.2 cent levy in that bond fund.