The McPherson school district has entered into a new contract with 360 Engineers to start replacing some of the heating and cooling systems that are in various stages of disrepair, with major work beginning as soon as next summer.
“’Priority one,’ if it stays on the schedule that 360’s proposed, would be done this summer,” McPherson’s interim school superintendent Gordon Mohn told board members at Monday’s meeting. “So it’s a pretty aggressive process.”
Mohn updated board members on 360’s proposals for moving forward based on the company’s most recent review of the heating and cooling systems in McPherson schools that are in need of the most work.
According to Mohn, the work recommended as “priority one” by 360 Engineers is probably affordable within the school district’s current capital outlay fund. However, he’s not sure that’s the case with the proposal identified as “priority two.”
“Right now, we don’t have the funding to do that,” Mohn said, “Or we have to substantially change the way we’re spending money in capital outlay.”
Mohn went on to explain that many of the “priority two” items identified are related to the hex-shaped portion of the high school that presents other physical challenges because of the age of the structure.
“So I think before we begin to commit dollars to that, there’ll come a time when we ought to have a discussion about what direction we want to go with that part of the building,” Mohn suggested. “How much money do we want to invest in a building that was built in the 1960s?
“It’s got some structural issues to it,” he added. “And so perhaps in the spring we can begin that discussion; do ‘priority one;’ and then begin to think about what ‘priority two’ ought to look like.”
Mohn went on to stress that simply identifying specific problems is a major step, and he does think that working with 360 Engineers will help the district avoid expensive surprises that happen when heating and cooling units break down unexpectedly.
All told, replacing and modernizing outdated heating and cooling systems in all of the McPherson schools could cost the district about eight million dollars.