Waltham High School A/C Unit To Be Replaced; No Impact on Students
Replacing the A/C system will not impact students.
The Waltham Public Schools have chosen to replace a broken air conditioning unit at the high school, but school officials say it likely won’t be done before students return to school on Aug. 29.
Construction, which is expected to last 8 to 12 weeks, should not impact students because most of it will take place on the roof, in closets and away from students, according to the district’s Facilities Director, Skip Bandini. The new system willbe more energy efficient and likely save on energy costs, Bandini said.
“As long as it is not too noisy,” Bandini told thee Waltham School Committee during a special July 26 meeting at which the committee approved the replacement plan.
One of the school’s three air conditioning units in the school stopped working in late May. The unit cools up to eight classrooms and school's media center, according to School Committee member John Graceffa.
Overall, rooms in the school that don’t have windows, have air conditioning, according to School Committee member John Graceffa.
With students still on summer break, district staffing has worked under hot conditions with temporary cooling units placed throughout the building.
After initially finding the symptom of the issue, a leak, a recent assessment of the broken unit determined mechanical failure caused the breakdown, according to Bandini. Two small holes could be found in tubes in the system, Bandini said.
“You could see the leak,” Bandini told the committee.
The full cost of the replacement has yet to be determined, but the district is hoping to recover some of the costs from its insurance company, Travelers Insurance, according to Mayor Jeanette McCarthy.
However, the amount the insurance company covers could be in question. The city’s consultant that determined the mechanical failure cause, Mulkern Mechanical, disagrees with Traveler’s consultant, which believes the system broke due to wear and tear, according to McCarthy. Regardless of the coverage, McCarthy said it would not be enough to cover the entire cost of the new unit.
MOVING CENTRAL OFFICE?
As a result of the repairs and hot conditions, the district’s central office staff could be forced to temporarily relocate. Superintendent Susan Nicholson, at the request of the committee, is exploring whether to move the central office staff to another location, possibly the former South Middle School, during construction of the new system. School committee members asked for the cost, space and parking impacts of moving to the former middle school through next Thanksgiving.