Board OKs Washington High School chiller repairPublished 8:43pm Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Repairs are in the works for a temperamental chiller at Washington High School.
The repair is somewhat of a temporary fix. The system is more than 20 years old and has cost the district about $45,000 in replacement and repair parts. This repair could cost an additional $45,000.
Members of the Beaufort County Board of Education’s buildings and grounds committee expressed wishes to replace the unit during last week’s meeting. But a replacement would cost about $167,000, which Beaufort County Schools did not have.
School officials offered committee members opposing opinions.
“I think we need to look at other options before we spend 30 or 40 thousand,” said Patrick Abele, executive director of auxiliary services.
Superintendent Don Phipps said BCS needed to proceed with the repairs.
“We don’t have the money to do what we’d like to do,” Phipps said.
Board member Terry Williams said he did not like either option.
“We’re spending some money to not spend more money,” he said.
Williams asked Abele to review other school projects that were included in the annual budget, had not been started and might be put on hold. Committee members agreed to include the repair on the board’s consent agenda, but were willing to change the motion should Abele find the $167,000 in the budget.
Board member Mac Hodges said a decision needed to be made sooner rather than later.
“It’s going to get hot before long,” he said.
The school uses two chillers to keep the school cool in warm months. When the chiller broke, the school tried to make due by operating the working chiller at full capacity and circulating the air with fans in the hallways, according to officials. Fearing the second system would be strained and fail if the second chiller was not replaced before warmer weather.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved the initial costs of repairing the chiller, about $28,000. If the chiller’s bearings have to be replaced, BCS will have to fork over an additional $17,900.