Royal Valley board looking at repairs to elementary HVAC
The Royal Valley Board of Education is considering using some federal COVID-19 funds received this year to make much-need improvements to the HVAC system at the elementary school in Hoyt.
During the board’s meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17, Superintendent Aaric Davis outlined funds the district has received, so far, for COVID-19 needs.
The district received $194,000 in SPARKS (Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas) funding through the county that was spent first on personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, thermometers and other COVID-19 related needs.
The district also received $87,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act. Davis estimated that between $22,000 to $25,000 of those funds have already been spent on substitute teachers and other COVID-19 needs.
The district then received a second round of ESSER funding totaling $381,000, and Davis said that it is predicted that the Biden administration will announce a third round of ESSER funds soon that will provide additional support for schools.
Davis suggested using some of the ESSER funds to complete a HVAC project at the elementary school this summer that would improve air quality in the school.
At the meeting, Davis presented and estimate of probable construction costs from HTK Architects of Topeka to fix some areas at the elementary school.
“We have an entire wing at the elementary school that doesn’t get any fresh air from the outside,” Davis said. “We’re just recirculating the same air over and over.”
The project includes replacing the old PTAC units (which are self-contained air-conditioning and heating systems also utilized in hotel rooms) in the classrooms with a newer, different system.
“The old PTAC units are incredibly inefficient,” Davis said. “The new system would be highly efficient. It would be a variable refrigeration system. There would be two condensing units outside by the playground.”
To upgrade 12 classrooms and restrooms, the estimated cost is $380,425, it was reported. To complete just 10 classrooms, the estimate is $295,720.
The estimate also includes replacing portions of the ceilings in order to complete the HVAC work, as well as design, structural and architectural fees. The total also includes $16,700 in contingency funds.
Davis said the project is a “qualified expense” under COVID-19 funding but that the district also has capital outlay funds available to cover some of the expense.
All the school board members indicated support of the HVAC project.
“I don’t think our financial situation is ever going to be this good because we can draw money from different sources,” said Ann Kelly, board member. “To me, it’s time to use the money effectively and improve our buildings.”
Davis said he would move forward with HTK to finalize a plan and prepare the project for bid.