Path to air-con in Thompson colleges unclear – Loveland Reporter-Herald
December 11, 2021 | by Noah Franklin
Solid solutions to the lack of air conditioning at various schools in the Thompson School District could be one way, district officials say.
Members of the Thompson School Board were informed at their November 3rd meeting that a comprehensive plan to introduce cooling systems into schools that do not currently have cooling systems would cost approximately $ 80 million.
“This is a topic that comes up every year, it’s a topic of Groundhog Day,” Thompson Superintendent Marc Schaffer said at the meeting. “We can talk about this nausea every year. I guess what I’m looking for is some direction for the board of directors for the next steps. “
A pilot program this year introduced small residential cooling units in a number of high priority classrooms in buildings that are particularly exposed to heat.
The board now faces the question of whether the district should continue to install smaller cooling units that do not do much to solve the problem or find ways to implement a project that is many times the typical investment budget of the district.
For reference, Chief Operating Officer Todd Piccone said the district could spend between $ 400,000 and $ 1 million on capital projects in any given year, but added that that number could be lower at times.
Opportunities to tackle a project this size are limited, mostly to grants or potential bond issues, Piccone said.
“I think it is very important that the public hears the $ 80 million figure,” said Board Vice President Pam Howard. “Over the years when we put together the bond packages, air conditioning was always a topic of discussion. We never really focused on it because it’s so massive. And sometimes I see something in the Reporter Herald on the RH Line that says, ‘Why don’t we air-condition the schools for our children and our teachers?’ And therefore.”
According to Piccone, a study meeting is currently planned for the beginning of next year after the newly elected directors have been sworn in at the beginning of this month and have represented themselves on the board.
Some cooling projects were tackled in the last Bond package in 2018. A planned amalgamation of the Conrad Ball Middle School, the Monroe Elementary and the Mary Blair Elementary School in a single pre-K-8 campus at Conrad Ball included complete air conditioning in the renovation plans.
“There has been movement, but not enough to make a dent in the entire district,” Piccone told the Reporter-Herald on Monday.
Board member Dawn Kirk asked if it was possible to tackle the problem in smaller chunks by installing air conditioning in one or two buildings at the same time over several years.
Piccone said it was a possibility, but the cost would still be in the tens of millions.