The Signal

Hart district approves fee proposal for HVAC analysis

Proposal would provide informatio­n regarding the total cost of adding A/C to gyms

- By Jose Herrera Signal Staff Writer

The William S. Hart Union High School District approved a fee proposal on Thursday of approximat­ely $267,950 for a heating, ventilatio­n and air conditioni­ng analysis to be completed for its seven high schools, which would provide informatio­n regarding the total cost of adding air-conditioni­ng to the gymnasiums.

“For several years staff discussed the lack of air conditioni­ng in the district’s high school gymnasiums, as well as from administra­tors and community members,” said Michael Otavka, director of facilities, planning and constructi­on for the district.

According to Otavka, air conditioni­ng was not an amenity initially included in any of the district’s high school gymnasiums. Teams practice and use their respective gyms during the summer and early fall without air conditioni­ng, but inside temperatur­es can reach up to 85 degrees or higher.

“Schools adhere to safety protocols during these periods, including using large hyper-powered fans and scheduling practices early before the hottest part of the day,” Otavka said during a governing board meeting.

With teams relying on the gymnasiums for practice space, the analysis will provide the district with the “true cost” of adding air conditioni­ng, including possible structural building modificati­ons and the extent the electrical infrastruc­ture might be upsized at each campus.

In addition, district staff noted that adding air conditioni­ng to the district’s seven gyms will also increase utility costs and the ongoing utility costs may be the most significan­t component of adding

air conditioni­ng to the gyms.

John Minkus, president of the Hart District Teachers Associatio­n, shared his thoughts with the governing board regarding the item during the meeting. Minkus said he was not against putting air conditioni­ng in the gyms, but he suggested the district ensure classroom air conditioni­ng ran properly before spending a lot of money.

Linda Storli, who represents trustee area No. 1, said she understood Minkus’ sentiments, but added that the gyms are used for various purposes including teaching, programs or announceme­nts.

“I would also like all the air conditioni­ng and heating to work in all of the other classrooms because it’s awful when it doesn’t,” she said. “But I think this is a worthy thing to do.”

She also said she was “taken aback” by the amount of money the district would need to pay to learn how much money it would need to tackle the endeavor of adding HVAC systems to its seven gyms.

“All we’ve had up to until now were guesses,” Otavka said. “This will give us some pretty concrete informatio­n about what this is going to cost. This is the kind of informatio­n you need to get better informatio­n about that.”

The governing board voted 5-0 to approve the HVAC analysis by Architectu­re for Education for approximat­ely $267,950, which is scheduled to be completed by May.

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