One by one the rooftop heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) units on school buildings are failing as they reach the end of their useful life. Last year, the school district replaced the failed HVAC rooftop unit for the middle school auditorium; its failure in early winter had left the space unusable from February through June.
Earlier this year, a second middle school rooftop HVAC rooftop unit failed, but this time, the district got lucky. The company that services the school district’s HVAC systems learned of a hospital that had a three-year old HVAC rooftop unit that a building project made surplus. The company was able to purchase it at a deep discount for Old Saybrook.
“We were able to get the three year-old HVAC unit for just $27,000, [a price that’s] less than half the regular cost for a unit this size,” said schools Business Manager Julie Pendleton.
A smaller rooftop HVAC unit at Old Saybrook High School for the guidance and main offices also failed. Pendleton said that unit was replaced with a new one costing $32,000.
At the high school this summer, the gymnasium’s bleachers were refurbished at a cost of $30,000. This is the second town school to have its bleachers re-done. The middle school gymnasium bleachers were refurbished two years ago.
Students arriving at the middle school this fall will be pleased to find new larger lockers installed. The older lockers were too narrow to fit student backpacks and books and had rusted over time due to the salt-laden sea air. The new replacement lockers are wider at 15 inches and deeper than the old ones and should better accommodate today’s backpacks and athletic bags.
Goodwin Elementary School also was the target of several building maintenance and upgrade projects. A $14,000 roof repair was one such project. Another, at a cost of $15,000, was the full replacement school windows’ blinds.
Other projects re-purposed existing storage rooms and other spaces to new uses. A small book storage room off the school library was converted into a guidance department office, adding a new access door off of the main hallway. An instructional area formerly used for sewing was repurposed for use as instructional space for the high school’s special education program.
The last project is not yet completed since it requires the approval of the town’s Zoning Commission before the district can proceed. This project is to replace several leaky metal storage trailers in the rear high school parking lot with a single 35- by 55-foot, pre-fabricated storage building for a cost of $30,000.
The new storage building will have five garage doors and will be used for outdoor athletic equipment; water wheels for field watering; supplies for the technology education, marine science, and drama programs; and supplies for the Goodwin School annual Fun Fair.
A second zoning clearance the district is seeking would allow installation of a second smaller garage for an automotive shop program to be launched in the school’s technology education program.