Path to air conditioning in Thompson schools unclear – Loveland Reporter-Herald

Strong solutions to the lack of air conditioning in various schools in the Thompson School District could be a long way off, district officials say.

At their November 3 meeting, Thompson school board members were told that a comprehensive plan to introduce cooling systems to schools that currently do not have them would cost around $ 80 million.

“It’s a topic that comes up every year, it’s a Groundhog Day topic,” Thompson Superintendent Marc Schaffer said at the meeting. “We can talk about this adnauseum every year. Guess what I’m looking for is some direction from the board on the next steps.

A pilot program implemented this year introduced small residential cooling units in a number of high-priority classrooms in buildings particularly affected by heat, and temperature data collected by the district in these classrooms has been reported. showed that their effect was negligible.

The question the council now faces is whether the district should continue to install smaller cooling units that do little to solve the problem or look for ways to implement a project several times the budget. capital improvement typical of the district.

For reference, in any given year, COO Todd Piccone said the district has $ 400,000 to $ 1 million to spend on capital projects, but added that this number could sometimes be lower.

The options for tackling a project of this size are limited, mostly to grants or potential bond issues, Piccone said.

“I think it’s very important for the public to hear the $ 80 million figure,” said vice chairman of the board, Pam Howard. “Over the years, when we introduced bail packages, air conditioning was always part of the conversation. We never really focused on it because it’s so huge. And sometimes I see something in the Reporter Herald on the HR line saying, “Why don’t we air-condition the schools for our kids and our teachers? And that’s why.

As it stands, a study session is tentatively scheduled for early next year, according to Piccone, after the new directors elected earlier this month are sworn in and influence the board of directors. ‘administration.

Some cooling projects were addressed in the latest bond package adopted in 2018. For example, a planned consolidation of Conrad Ball Middle School, Monroe Elementary and Mary Blair Elementary Schools into a single pre-K-8 campus at Conrad Ball included air conditioning complete in renovation plans.

“There was 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 would be possible to tackle the problem in small chunks, installing air conditioning in one or two buildings at a time over several years.

Piccone said it was a possibility, but the costs would still be measured in tens of millions of dollars.

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