North Ward air conditioner to be fixed before school begins

By Kayleigh Rahn
Those familiar with North Ward Elementary are aware of the ongoing maintenance required to keep the building’s air conditioning running.

And the ongoing repairs will continue this summer as the chiller unit will be replaced, and, thanks to a vote by the board of education, the work will be complete before start of the next school year.

The district estimated the project to come with a $150,000 price tag; however, the low bid came in about $20,000 cheaper at $130,252, superintendent Michael Smith said.

“That’s the good news, the bad new is they don’t have chillers on the shelf somewhere,” Smith said. “Once you select a bid the company puts it out to be built, the issue is it would not be completed and installed until October. That’s a bad plan.”

The company agreed to have the project complete by Thursday, Aug. 23 for an additional $9,800.

“Please keep in mind that the bid came in $20,000 lower than we’d hoped and for $9,800 we can have it installed for the kids and the staff,” Smith said. “While I don’t get to vote, I’m all in. I think it’s a bargain.”

Board member Martin Marx asked if the system will work properly and consistently with the new chiller, and Smith said that is unlikely.

“The chiller portion we are replacing will work properly, however if the system as whole ever working properly, I’m not betting on that,” Smith said. “It hasn’t for more than a decade, but I don’t think it has worked properly since day one. But the cool air and chiller will work.”

North Ward Principal Jason Wallace said the chiller is located on the roof, and the replacement will require crane work to complete.

“I’m sure they will do this work in the safest and careful way possible, but I would just feel more comfortable to have this done and get them out before students arrive,” Smith said.

In other business, Smith reported that negotiations for the 2018-2022 teachers contract between the Tuscola Educators Association and the district are complete. The TEA is slated to meet this week to review the contract and will look for a vote soon after.

Smith said he would be in favor of calling a special meeting to approve the contract once the TEA has given the green light.

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, June 27 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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