This chilling unit is being rented from Johnson Controls for the heating and air conditioning units at Liberal High School until a new unit can be purchased. Rent on the unit is about $8,000 per month, and a replacement will cost about $200,000. L&T photo/Earl Watt
By ANANDA coleman
• Leader & Times
Temperature control has been an issue for Liberal High School for several years, but a recent purchase approved at the April USD No. 480 school board meeting should alleviate the problem.
USD 480 board members voted April 5 to spend $163,000 and replace Liberal High School’s 30-year-old cooling tower. The amount includes dismantling of the old tower, which has outlasted its estimated life-span of 20 to 25 years by quite a margin, noted director of auxiliary services Alan Haskell.
Even though it was long-lasting, the old tower fell short in terms of comfort. Students, teachers and LHS administrators can attest that the school’s upper classrooms are often too hot and classrooms in the music and drama wings of the school are cold.
“When you have a building that size, it’s difficult to get the temperature right,” said Haskell during the meeting.
The new cooling tower will do more than regulate the building’s temperature. It will also put a stop to spending flares required to keep its predecessor running.
“We’ve been having to pay $8,700 a month for temporary measures,” to control the LHS thermostat, noted Reid Petty, board president.
In a related measure April 5, the board also spent $97,385 on pneumatic controls replacements for LHS. Pneumatic controls regulate airflow in larger buildings. The high school has several miles of pneumatic lines, Haskell said.
“This takes care of the hallway units and the rooftop units and we have several miles of old pneumatic lines that we can get rid of,” Haskell said. “That building [LHS] is very well insulated. The main problem we have with that building is that we have to be careful about how hot we get it, because the heat is so very hard to dissipate, especially the upper floor. That’s why we have the cooling tower on the agenda, too. We’ve got to keep the heat down – even during the winter time.”
Haskell’s department has developed a strategy to keep things comfortable and costs down, he said:
“Basically, what we do right now is have the heat on over night, then shut it off at about 10 in the morning, so it doesn’t get so hot.”
Temperature regulation might be a bit easier and cheaper now.
“The cooling tower is built on the same principle, but it is more efficient,” he said. “It’s 30 years newer.”
Both motions passed unanimously.