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Thanks to the district’s FCA process and the resulting capital improvement plans, Acree and his team have tackled the deferred maintenance projects that are likely to have the greatest impact in improving school conditions and learning environments.
“HVAC projects have been our biggest projects and what we’ve hit first,” he says. “As of last year, we’ve completed seven chiller projects and four controls projects. We have another four chiller projects and four controls projects set up for the summer of 2019.
“Boilers don’t get used a lot since we’re in Florida. Some of our boilers are 30 years old, but they’re still operational, and we don’t use them.”
The district replaced two 300-ton chillers at two middle schools and two 300-ton chillers at one of its high schools. Why those projects?
“Age and condition,” he says. “At Gateway High School, the coils all were gone, so we were out there for two or three months with water running non-stop on them. Beyond that, a lot of the controls projects targeted obsolete and unsupported systems. We couldn’t control them anymore or get parts for them.”
In-house staff has played a role in shaping and managing the projects, though not performing the work.
“We have meetings with the technicians to figure out which equipment works best for us and gives us the best warranty and gets us the best rebates,” Acree says. “The chiller replacement work was contracted, and we managed the projects. We don’t have the manpower in-house to do it ourselves. HVAC (technician recruitment) is really tough. When we have (open) positions, they can sit for two, three, four months at a time. We’ve had a BAS position open for a little over a year now.”
The HVAC projects that the district has completed so far have delivered the results Acree and his team hoped for.
“The projects absolutely have been beneficial,” he says. “They have cut down service calls and work orders, and we’ve had fewer complaints. We don’t have to run water non-stop to cool down the coils.”
Deferred Maintenance: Turning Plans Into Action