A chilling predicament

Published 12:19 pm Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Staff Writer

An unexpected increase in the cost to repair one of the two chillers that provide air conditioning at Washington High School drew concerns Monday from members of the Beaufort County Board of Education.
Board members said they wanted to know more about the repairs, now estimated at $40,000, including the length of service left in the chiller after the repairs are made.
“The expected longevity of the repairs would bear into our considering whether we go ahead with the $40,000 or if we look into something else,” said board member William S. Warren after hearing a report on the increased cost.
In July, the board unanimously approved a $7,265 contract to be awarded to Centrifugal Consultants Inc. of Durham for the repairs.
After the company began work on the project, it discovered additional repairs were needed, the board was told.
Board Chairman Robert Belcher recommended that work on the chiller stop until more is known about the needed repairs and until the school system can get an estimate of the cost of a new chiller.
“It might not be as cost effective to repair a 20-year-old chiller as to buy a new one,” he said.
In other business, the board:
• Voted unanimously to authorize Superintendent Don Phipps and Laurie Modlin, finance officer, to authorize repairs of the track at Washington High School. In July, the board learned of repairs that are needed to the track as the result a 3-foot-wide sink hole that has recently appeared. A drainage pipe has been replaced, and a section of the track needs to be resurfaced as a result of the repairs, Phipps told the board.
• Unanimously adopted a three-year Local Academically or Intellectually Gifted Plan. The plan focuses on professional development, parental involvement and plan implementation, Phipps told the board. Copies of the plan are available to the public on the school system’s website, he said.
• Unanimously approved an authorization form to be signed by officers of a homeowner’s association or other group of private property owners to allow school buses to travel on streets within a housing development. The form is the second of two authorization forms adopted by the board to protect school buses from damage caused by hazards on the property and to protect the schools from claims for damage caused by buses traveling on privately owned roads, the board was told. Last month, the board unanimously endorsed the authorization of a form to be signed by private property owners to allow school buses to turn around on their properties. 
• Unanimously approved field trip requests for the Northside High School cheerleading squad to travel to King’s Dominion for a competition and to Chapel Hill for a cheerleading camp.
All board members attended the meeting.