published Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Cleveland school board gets chilling cost estimate

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    Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Tennessee
    Photo by D. Patrick Harding

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — City school board members suffered a sticker shock Wednesday.

The estimated cost to replace the aging heating and air system with a water source heat pump system for the older part of Cleveland High School, the east wing, is more than $1.3 million, according to Associated Architectural Services.

And a $1 million chiller unit just recently paid off will not be needed for the new system, the architects' report says.

Renovation was not expected to affect the vocation area, but "it has been determined this is not the case and the Vocational Building will also require HVAC modifications," the report states. Two options for that project estimate costs at either $140,900 or $83,500, depending on the board's decision.

The west wing of the high school, once a separate middle school, is served by a new geothermal system.

The school board's Site Committee, led by Murl Dirksen, held its monthly meeting to consider several issues concerning buildings and grounds.

Those estimates do not include the existing pipe system, architect Ken Cress told the committee.

The committee and other school board members asked for options including whether the work can be done in stages and the resale potential of the chiller.

"With all these options, we are still spending a lot of money," Director Martin Ringstaff commented.

"You've given us a lot to think about -- not necessarily good things," Dirksen said to the architects.

Infrastructure work like HVAC systems are necessary, board member Dawn Robinson observed, but not as exciting as more publicly visible projects like the high school's new science wing.

On another Cleveland High issue, renovation for the now bare Little Theater could cost between $250,000 to $300,000 according to an estimate. More information on that should be available at the next Site Committee meeting, Ringstaff said.

And the school board plans a joint luncheon on Monday with the City Council to talk about acquiring land for an elementary school, among other issues.

The school system has scaled back its plans to 15 acres now instead of the original 18 acres, creating an expected savings. The board still wants the school to be on a site at Hardwick Farms where a planned community is also on the drawing board.

"They want the school there. We want the school there," Ringstaff said.

On Monday, however, some City Council members repeated the earlier question of why not consider Hardwick Field, the current airport property instead.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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