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Completion of school construction facing a problem

Michael Howlett
Staff Writer

10 months 20 days 7 hours ago |8 Views | | | Email | Print

Although construction at both Carroll County High School and Carroll County Intermediate School is very close to completion, there remains one problem that must be resolved soon, said Project Manager Dennis Cole during the Carroll County School Board meeting on Jan.7.


The problem concerns the heating and cooling units in the front section of CCIS. The units are fluctuating from their set temperature more than they are supposed to, thus heating some rooms up to as high as 91 degrees.


“We want the units to be able to stay within one or two degrees of the set point. Our expectations are not being met,” said Cole.


Chairman Brian Spencer said the school board didn’t need the units to heat, since the building was heated by a coal furnace, but that the board did “need the cooling system to work.”


Cole responded that the building’s present heating system is on “its last legs. There may be a time when a valve is turned on and the valve breaks. The (news) units could be used as a backup. Besides, if the units are built for it (heat), we should have that capability.”


Cole added that it was important to fix the units now, rather than later.


“If the issue can be fixed in heating mode, it’s much likely to work in cooling mode,” he said. “If we wait until spring and the units don’t work, it would be hard to get the contractor back. If we can get the heat working correctly, then I’ll feel much better about the cooling.”


Randy Baker, an architect on the project, said, “We aren’t satisfied at all. The school board has paid for the units, and the manufacturer needs to go to the school site and tell us what’s wrong. We’ve used these with projects in North Carolina and Virginia, and they’ve worked great. But these are not working at all.”


When asked if the manufacturer has been to the site, Cole said the manufacturer has been working off the information the maintenance people have supplied.


Cole went on to say that it is getting close to the time when the board will have to decide to keep the units or to “take the drastic decision to pull them out.”


Superintendent Dr. Strader Blankenship asked Cole “at what point do we pull the trigger?”


Baker said he was “in touch with the engineer,” and would know more once he talked to him.


Other than the heating/cooling units, Cole had a positive report for the board. He said everything else should be completed by the “end of January,” and they had obtained temporary certificate of occupancy from the fire marshal and the building inspector for both the high school and intermediate school.

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