USD 489 BOE Discusses Chiller Unit (VIDEO)

At Monday night’s USD 489 Board of Education meeting, the chiller unit at Roosevelt Elementary school was discussed. The school had been using a temporary unit while assessing permanent solutions.

District Architect Terry Ault presented details about multiple options for the district, including a rebuilt compressor. After being presented with the options, board member Lance Bickle addressed Ault and Francis Hammerschmidt, Building and Grounds Supervisor.

Hammerschmidt said that Joe Glassman, owner of one of the companies contacted about the work, stated he wouldn’t be pursuing that option (a refurbished compressor). Other companies contacted were Auman and Trane.

Board President Greg Schwartz used an example of a new car to illustrate how he views this situation.

“Joe Glassman and Trane Commercial don’t make the decisions about what we’re going to do; we do.  That’s the problem. Here’s how I look at this.  If you bought a car and you had a replacement plan for your car and it was every five years and after the third year your transmission went out on that car, you’re going to either go buy a new car if you can afford it or if you’re several hundred thousand dollars over budget like we are, you’re probably going to go buy the rebuilt or the refurbished transmission and make do with it.”

Ault added that the companies contacted about the 47 year old chilling system shared the same opinion: a new system was the most feasible course of action.  At that point, Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) was called in to evaluate the situation and provide options for the school board.

Both PEC and the companies contacted ultimately advised against pursuing rebuilt / refurbished units, though PEC did list a rebuilt compressor as a “risky and temporary solution“.

PEC specifically stated in the letter to the superintendent that “we fear that investing money in any solution besides total replacement of the existing chiller system is risky and short-term. The existing equipment is well beyond its expected lifespan (typically around 20 years), and any original components are highly susceptible to failure.”

Ault then summarized that the list of options presented Monday evening were a culmination of guidance from the administration when the original unit failed, suggestions from all contacted vendors, and PEC’s assessment once they became involved.

Schwartz said that pursuing a refurbished option sooner could have saved the district money.

The board voted 5-1 to move forward with getting bids for a completely rebuilt unit to have it installed in Roosevelt Elementary. The bids would be for work to be done using a refurbished compressor.

  • johnson

    yet as i read the hays daily article last night the board is leaning toward spending $138,000 of taxpayers money to re-do TMP’s victory drive but we don’t have the money to replace an ancient a/c system for our children at Roosevelt. Rebuilt stuff isn’t everything its cracked up to be. And how long do the warranties of rebuilt compressors last? maybe a year. some are only for 90 days. Then if it craps out we have to spend the money again to get another rebuilt compressor. And the labor cost as well to install it. I believe the board was given good advice but they lack the knowledge of making sound business decisions. The whole school system is spinning out of control because the board insists they can micro-manage everything.

    • spricket

      yeah what the heck is the deal with us taxpayers making a new road for TMP?? I was reading that in the paper last night. don’t we have any other alternatives to dropping off and picking up our children at O’Laughlin? if we’re gonna spend that type of money can’t we build our own road behind the building and exit out on 12th Street. Come on board members. Can’t you think this out a little more.

      • Chris

        Can you even fathom the costs of building an entirely new road? Much, much higher than the 138k.

        Can’t you think this out a little more?

      • Truth

        Let me explain why they should “help” pay for the road that goes through TMP-Marian’s campus.  Because USD 489 traffic has been driving that road for years.  TMP-Marian has graciously allowed parents of O’Loughlin students to safely drive that road to drop off and pick up their children.  This process has been in place since the district purchased the building.  In fact, a study was done at one time and it showed that 70% of the traffic on that road belonged to school district parents.

  • jarilyn

    WTH?? Greg Schwartz is nothing but a bully. Why is it all the other board members just fold to him….EVERY time?!?

  • Educated

    Francis Hammerschmidt and Terry Ault are a joke. They don’t know anything and lie to the taxpayers. These two should be run out of town. How much do we pay these two?

    I agree that we shouldn’t be paying TMP either. Why does this district need to pay TMP for a road when they don’t own it.

    • simplex

      francis is one of the most dedicated employees USD 489 has. get your facts straight. they provided the board with all the information they needed in proper time. its the board that should be run out of town.

      • Change

        You should pay attention, because your blind support for a person overlooks that he is not good for the district. He is one of the good ol boy network.

        • Stockman

          Just because he has be there so long he is a good ol boy. BS At least he works on the equipment and know what is going on. That chiller is 46 plus years old why not replace it?

    • Uncle Thomas

      Time to replace both of them!

  • jigsaw

    Here’s what i see in all of this. a major lack of communication. first off, its the superintendents job to gather all the information and report his findings to the board. yes dean you are the captain of the ship here. you don’t sit back and look dumb and send a couple of employees up to the firing line to do your job. employees answer to you and you answer to the board. and what the board needs to do, is when they have issues with anything, be specific with the super and expect him to find direct answers to their questions. then a lot of this you say, he says stops. i’m retired military and my advice to the super is get your act together and be responsible and get the right answers to the board. that’s what you get paid for. the buck stops with you.

  • taxed out

    I’m all for the BOE holding USD 489 employees responsible for wasting taxpayer $’s. Over 70% of our taxes go to public schools! Remember a few years back when employees burnt down the bus barn with their cigarette smoking! Nobody was held accountable just the taxpayers. The unions protect them.

  • siasd

    Good money after bad. Stupid is as stupid does. This is about power, not good business sense by board. We’ll be back within two years having to replace rebuild. Mr. K step up to plate and lead…..that is your job. We should get rebuilt artificial turf and rebuild road by making it gravel. Makes as much sense. Alas, bone priorities and power flex are clear here for all to see.