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TASD to reevaluate planned $2.1 million HVAC installation/upgrades for middle and high school

In October of 2007, Tyrone Area School Board members unanimously approved a proposal from Hayes Large Architects of Altoona for the estimated construction cost of $2.1 million to install and upgrade the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system at the middle and high school.
Completing the HVAC system installation/upgrade will be the final addition to the school’s Building and Renovation Program. It will also provide air conditioning to all schools in the district.
The project was to begin construction by Hayes Large Architects in late spring of 2008 and be functioning by September, but the district stated that the bids came in higher than what was originally projected.
At the school board’s April 8 meeting, the board approved to reject all bids received for the HVAC project, so board members can take the necessary time to reevaluate the project’s completion time frame and cost. School officials feel there are different avenues they can explore to try to cut costs and produce the same outcome with the installation and upgrades.
“The board is reevaluating the project to determine what caused the increase in cost and how to best address the project to keep it within a reasonable budget amount,” stated TASD Business Administrator Cathy Peachey.
The HVAC project’s main goal is to update the boilers at the high school by installing high efficiency boilers, taking all the old steam piping out that is beginning to deteriorate and replacing it with a hot water heating system. The elementary school building runs a hot water system, and the cost of running that system is significantly less than the high school’s old steam lines.
According to TASD Physical Plant Engineer Tom Muir, the existing steam lines that provide the heat to the building are original to the high school’s 45-year age. The problem with the lines is on the nipples where the smaller pipes come off of the main pipes. The old steam main pipes will be abandoned in place, and only necessary pipes will be removed.
To provide heat at the high school presently, steam pressure must be maintained at all times, which is not as efficient as the hot water system – the upgrade will ultimately save money.
By replacing the steam heating system with a hot water system, the operational efficiency of the heating system will be increased.
Muir stated the school district is still working with Hayes Large Architects on the project during the reevaluation process, which includes air conditioning in all classrooms at the high school by removing the existing rooftop compressor units and replacing those units with centralized units.
“We’re going to sit down with the engineer and try to reduce the cost of the original bid,” said Muir. “We will also expand the construction period, which will cut labor costs.”
The school district is not sure what the projected cost of the project will be after the reevaluation, but Muir stated that it will more than likely be over the architect’s budget bid.