May 21, 2020 11:01 AM

Contractor: Roosevelt HVAC in dire need of replacement

Posted May 21, 2020 11:01 AM
Corroded HVAC pipes in the tunnels under Roosevelt Elementary School. Courtesy photo
Corroded HVAC pipes in the tunnels under Roosevelt Elementary School. Courtesy photo

By CRISTINA JANNEY
Hays Post

The Hays school board received a price tag Monday night for a replacement to the Roosevelt Elementary school HVAC system.

Joe Glassman, president/CEO of Glassman Corp., estimated replacement of the system would cost $1.1 million to $1.6 million.

Glassman said the HVAC system at the school, which was installed in 1967, has well outlived its life expectancy and was in "dire need" of replacement.

The average lifespan for similar systems is 25 years.

"There are a lot of leaks," Glassman said. "There is insulation off of it. One of the things we noticed that there were areas that were tagged for asbestos."

Glassman said the company would recommend to any school district to remove asbestos.

"It becomes a liability at a certain point in time," he said.

Caution tape marking asbestos in the tunnels under Roosevelt Elementary School. Courtesy photo
Caution tape marking asbestos in the tunnels under Roosevelt Elementary School. Courtesy photo

Rusty Lindsay, USD 489 buildings and grounds director, said he was not sure if the stickers at Roosevelt were correct. He said he would have to look at the district's management plan. 

He said he thought asbestos had been removed from the other district buildings.

Glassman said if asbestos remained in any other locations in the district, it would be more cost effective to have a contractor remove all of it at once. He recommended spot checks of the buildings based on the management plan.

Roosevelt has a two-pipe heating and cooling system. Glassman said it is difficult to get parts for the pneumatic controls that the Roosevelt system uses.

Most systems have gone to digital controls, which is what Glassman recommended. He said the control system should be simple and have the capacity to be operated by local maintenance staff.

Building and grounds director Rusty Lindsay speaks with school board members inside the Roosevelt boiler room during a tour of the school earlier this school year. Photo by Cristina Janney
Building and grounds director Rusty Lindsay speaks with school board members inside the Roosevelt boiler room during a tour of the school earlier this school year. Photo by Cristina Janney

Glassman said the boiler is also on its last leg, as is the chiller.

"You've got your use out of the system," Glassman said. "It has met and exceeded all of the guidelines to heat and cool a building. Deterioration has set in, especially in the piping system."

Glassman said they found some classrooms where the HVAC systems were almost inoperable.

"We had some teachers say it's always cold here and it's always been cold here or it's always warm here, and it's always been warm here. It's always noisy," Glassman said.

Glassman said he thought the school would be able to use the air conditioning this fall and heater this winter, but it would not last another season.

He said the pipe is so rusted that one could break and flood a tunnel and the school staff might not know it was broken.

"There is no question that we are probably not taking care of the system from a student to teacher standpoint as far as comfortability," he said.

The board has discussed starting the engineering phase this summer and having the project completed next summer.

Insulation is missing from Roosevelt HVAC pipes. Courtesy photo
Insulation is missing from Roosevelt HVAC pipes. Courtesy photo

Glassman said the building also has water and sewer issues throughout the building. He said he also thought the gas lines need to be removed from the tunnels under the school. 

HVAC pipes could be leaking in the tunnels onto the gas lines and causing deterioration of the gas lines, he said.

"What happens with districts that can't address maintenance issues is that you start Band-aiding things," Glassman said. "You put a piece of pipe in that doesn't match another piece of pipe, and you put dissimilar metals in. All of the sudden you have rust issues and a leak. ...

"Really I think that is what has happened in this building. It's served its life."

Glassman recommended a water-to-air heat pump system. Manufacturers usually give an 11- to 12-year warranty on the systems, but he said he did not know how long the systems will last beyond that.

An advantage to the system would be heat or air could be run anywhere in the building there was an air-handler at anytime.

Dewayne Vaughn of Integrated Consulting Engineers also told the board he would recommend the water-to-air heat pump system.

Vaughn said he would shy away from roof-top units. Although they are less expensive in the short-term, they tend to have shorter life spans.

Glassman recommended looking at a time other than summer to complete the project. He said he has success with completing work between 3 and 11 p.m. daily when buildings are not in use.

Superintendent Ron Wilson said the board needed to decide if it wanted to use Vaughn as the engineer on the project or to seek more proposals for engineering services.

Board member Tammy Wellbrock said she supported the use of Vaughn as the engineer.

Vaughn has worked on other projects for the district.

She said she also wanted to see cost estimates on the electrical work, moving the gas lines and removing the asbestos.

Board member Allen Park wanted proposals from more engineers. The board is not required to seek bids on engineering services.

The board agreed through consensus to move forward with a contract with Vaughn. That contract will be presented to the board for a vote at its next meeting.