School board OKs emergency boiler replacement

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High schoolers could feel chill until new one arrives

By Shannon Brock

Members of the Anderson County Board of Education are hoping for warm daytime temperatures at least for a couple more weeks — and for good reason.
An emergency replacement of the boiler at Anderson County High School is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 19.
Maintenance Director Bryan Drury said his staff started to switch the two-pipe system from cooling to heating about three weeks ago. However, when initiating that switch, they found a water leak.
“We found a crack in the end section,” Drury said.
Drury said his first goal was to see if he could find a replacement part. However, because the boiler was manufactured in 1967 and parts for it haven’t been made since the 1970s, finding a replacement was no easy task.
Drury was able to locate a used part, but just before it was shipped to Anderson County, workers found a hairline crack in it.
The school system was able to back out of the deal, but was left with only one option: replacement.
At an emergency meeting of the school board on Thursday, members voted to accept the low bid for the boiler from Hayslett.
The boiler and its installation will cost $64,480.
Because asbestos was found in the boiler, the district will also have to pay for abatement, which was awarded to ACM Construction with a low bid of $4,750.
ACM will also remove the old boiler.
After factoring in the engineering fee and the cost for asbestos testing, the project is estimated to cost around $80,000.
This is an unexpected cost for the district, but a House Bill exists that should let the district pay for the project out of the capital outlay fund instead of the general fund. However, funding for the emergency replacement will first come out of the general fund, but once the project is approved by the Kentucky Department of Education, the district will be allowed to reimburse itself and move funds from the capital outlay fund into the general fund.
Superintendent Sheila Mitchell said the board is requesting $90,000 for the project just in case any unforeseen issues pop up during the replacement.
Board members commended Drury for effectively ushering along such a large project in a short amount of time.
Drury said he and his staff were hoping daytime temperatures would stay warm until the new boiler is up and running, but they are prepared for cold weather if necessary.
In a worst-case scenario, Drury said his staff could run space heaters in the school at night so that the school would be warm during the day.
“I think we’ll be OK,” he said.
“But we’re prepared, even if it gets cold during the day.”

E-mail Shannon Brock at sbrock@theandersonnews.com.