Columbus City Schools wants to spend $11 million on replacing HVAC systems

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Columbus Board members are set to vote on an $11 million contract for renovations to the HVAC systems at four of the district's schools.

The repair and renovation plan would outfit classrooms at West High Schools, Sherwood Middle, Moler Elementary and Duxberry Park Elementary with air conditioning.

"It’s one of the more challenging projects just because it really will touch almost every corner of the building. But a lot of things won’t change depending on how they look," Alex Trevino, director of capital improvements for Columbus City Schools. "It’s definitely going to change in terms of what people are going to perceive in terms of the temperature and comfort inside the building."

The contract is part of the district's Operation: Fix It initiative, a five-year $125 million voter-approved bond package allocated for maintenance project across the district. If approved, the contract would be the largest single investment under the initiative.

Duxberry Park Elementary, one of the schools that would be renovated, is more than 60 years old.

"We are a two-story building. Many of our classrooms on the upper floor are facing the playground where there is asphalt and the sun comes into the classrooms, on a constant basis. That’s why we do have blinds," said Nikki Henry, principal of the schools.

Henry says she and school staff have had to make adjustments to ensure students are safe and healthy in extreme cold or hot temperatures.

"These rooms can get up to 85, 90, 95 degrees," Henry said. "We’ve even had the thermostat at 99 before. That’s really hard conditions for students to try to concentrate and learn to read and do math when they have sweat pouring down."

If the Board approves the contract at it's Tuesday evening meeting, design work would begin immediately. Construction work would be completed by the start of the 2018-2019 school year.