On Monday night Levy received permission from the Clarke County School Board to rent a 250-ton tractor-trailer mounted chiller that that can be hooked into the high school’s air conditioning system which failed last week. The cost of the 60-day rental for the portable cooling system will be $51K and does not include the cost of utilities Levi said.
Levi told the School Board members that with daytime high temperatures at near 90 degrees, temperatures inside the CCHS classrooms were approaching 85 degrees.
This is not the first time that CCHS’s aging air conditioning system has malfunctioned.
Levi said the 24-year-old air conditioning system has “passed its life expectancy” after failing previously in 2007 and 2009. The repair cost in 2007 was $16K and the 2009 failure, which resulted in a complete overhaul of the system, cost $60K.
With the cost of a new air conditioning system estimated to be near $85,000, Levi said that he wasn’t comfortable with making the purchasing decision for a replacement unit given that the School Board has money available in its building renovation budget to cover a new system designed specifically for the needs of the building.
The Clarke County Board of Supervisors has pressed the School Board to provide a schedule for renovating several of its existing school buildings including the current Clarke County High School.
“We often have 90-degree weather in October” Levi noted. “A 250-ton chiller isn’t easy to come by so I recommend keeping it until we’re sure that we won’t need it any longer.”
While the School Board members voted unanimously to authorize Levy to move forward on the rental agreement, at least one school board member wasn’t pleased with the expenditure.
“The real problem here is that we shouldn’t be in a position where we have a 24-year-old chiller” said School Board member Janet Alger (Russell).
Update: Wednesday, August 9, 2011
According to school officials, Clarke has located a cheaper solution for helping students chill while an air conditioning failure is replaced. Clarke Maintenance Manager BobbyLevi and Purchasing Mike Manager Legg say that they have located a cheaper chiller for the high school. The new found source will cost the schools $29,590 for a three month chill deal; significantly cheaper than the $51K proposed on Monday night. Better yet, the new deal provides an extra month of cold air. Levi hopes to have the chiller onsite by on Monday and in time for the opening of school. The estimated cost for the chiller installation is $3K.