Why the West Burlington School District expects HVAC equipment

WEST BURLINGTON – As the school year progresses painfully, supply chain issues continue to delay the West Burlington School DistrictHVAC system upgrades.

The district had been authorized to use emergency relief funds from elementary and secondary schools to purchase a variety of new HVAC equipment and planned to carry out the upgrades gradually throughout the year.

The district was able to install five new rooftop air handling units at the elementary school last summer, but is still awaiting the installation of three new rooftop air handling units at the secondary school. .

The high school was able to install seven new heat pumps, but the two make-up air units needed to operate the new heat pumps did not arrive.

Nate Prickett, the district’s maintenance manager, told The Hawk Eye in August that the district hoped to have the new rooftop units installed in a junior-senior high building by mid-October. On Friday, Prickett said the expected completion date was pushed back to some time in November.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruptions that followed, a considerable number of industries across the country and the rest of the world are experiencing shortages of manufactured goods, causing prolonged waits for goods, supplies and a wide variety of services.

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The pandemic is also partly responsible for the genesis of these stalled upgrades, with the source of funding and the need for upgrades being directly linked to the federal government’s response to COVID-19.

The district worked with Winger Contracting Co. to install new upgrades to HVAC equipment.

The company has offices in Ottumwa, Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, Burlington, and Missouri and Nebraska, and told The Hawk Eye the supply chain is having issues with Reznor HVAC and Trane HVAC did not put on hold many HVAC projects for the company.

“It’s with all the gear right now,” said Marc McLaughlin, site manager for Winger’s Burlington office. “It’s very similar to the automotive supply chain.… All (our sites) are experiencing the same thing. All equipment is delayed.”

The CVC projects are funded by ESSER money made available by the federal government after the passage of the Supplementary Appropriations for Coronavirus Response and Relief Act in December.

As part of the program, the Iowa Department of Education can approve funding requests and reimburse school districts for various projects, including “repairing and improving school facilities, including school systems projects. heating, ventilation and air conditioning to improve indoor air quality in school facilities. “

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The exact costs of the West Burlington HVAC upgrades are unknown at this time, but the estimated costs for the new elementary school rooftop air handling units are between $ 45,000 and $ 60,000.

The new rooftop air handling units at junior high school cost between $ 30,000 and $ 35,000.

And the replacement of the junior high school heat pumps is estimated between $ 150,000 and $ 190,000, while the new make-up air units are estimated between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000.

With the neighborhood’s older HVAC rooftop units, three classrooms in particular used one equipment for heating and one for cooling, bringing in around 10% outside air during the warmer seasons when air conditioning was used.

During the colder months, hot water fans were used to heat these rooms and no outside air was used, meaning that for most of the school year these rooms did not receive air. costs.

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The new rooftop units will be able to provide both fresh and fresh air to these three rooms year-round and will include UV lighting technology that can help remove contaminants from the house. air, such as microorganisms, bacteria, viruses and molds. .

With the old college equipment, outside air is supplied to most water heat pumps using make-up air units with gas heating.

Although these rooftop units have the capacity to bring in fresh air, they do not have the capacity to remove air from the building and can only operate in mild weather, with temperatures between 30 and 75 degrees, which means they can bring in fresh air. air for the parts of the building they serve for about half of the school year.

The new make-up air units, equipped with energy recovery ventilators, will be able to bring in fresh air and remove stale air all year round.

McLaughlin said Winger was able to confirm with equipment makers that the equipment on the roof of the junior-senior building should be available in nine or 10 weeks.

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