New boiler needed for Jolley School; Insurance inspector cites age, rust, leaks as potential problem

New boiler needed for Jolley School; Insurance inspector cites age, rust, leaks as potential problem by M. Jill Karolevitz Jolley School won�t have air conditioning this year, but a new boiler is on the horizon.

�The inspector sent by our insurance company has told us that the boiler is essentially on its last legs and needs to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible,� said Superintendent Robert Mayer during the Aug. 14 Vermillion School Board meeting. �I�m gathering from this that they won�t insure the boiler if we don�t repair or replace it. They didn�t come right out and say it, but that�s my opinion.�

Brian Miller, sales office manager for Johnson Controls, the heating and air conditioning provider for the Vermillion School District, met with Mayer following the inspector�s recommendation last month.

�He (Miller) said repairing a rusty and leaky boiler that�s approximately 50 years old is not a good idea,� Mayer said. �But replacing it could be very spendy.

�Half the cost is tearing out the old boiler and installing the new one,� he continued. �It could be up to $50,000 just for that.�

The purchase price for a new boiler adds another estimated $50,000 to the bill.

�Plus, this is a bad time for this type of job,� Mayer said. �The number of contractors is limited because they are busy, so that could kick the price up some.�

Miller will provide the school board with cost estimates to be presented at a special meeting Aug. 23 at 5 p.m.

Mayer suggested that after considering the estimates, the school board should approve the purchase of a new boiler for Jolley School � one that can be used for the building�s present steam heat system, but could later be converted to a water system that would be needed when air conditioning is installed at Jolley.

�Because we couldn�t get the air conditioning project done, we will be continuing with steam heat,� he said. �But the new boiler should be one that can be converted to water which is what the new air conditioning system will use.�

Timing is crucial in making a decision, Mayer added.

�It could take two weeks to get the new boiler and after that it�s a six-week process to tear out the old one and install the new system,� he said. �If a contractor starts at the end of August, the job could be done by Oct. 1 before cold weather sets in.�

Safety is also a concern.

�Safety is the first priority,� Mayer said. �The old boiler could take us through the winter, but if it has a problem with the potential of causing a fire, that�s a big risk. So is the possibility of not being covered by insurance.�

The school board discussed replacing the boiler during its March 13 meeting when Miller presented options for the Jolley air conditioning project. Since then, it has taken no action on the project, but boiler replacement has been alluded to during discussion.

�I believe it�s been our consensus that replacement is what we want to do anyway,� said Tom Craig, school board president. �The money is in the capital outlay fund to pay for it and I think it�s a good idea to get the information and make a decision to get it done before the weather gets bad. I don�t see that we have any choice, especially if the boiler is uninsurable. That makes our decision.�

The school board also voted unanimously to approve the 2000-2001 budget that it has been studying since March.

Total general fund expenditures for 2000-2001 are expected to be $6,956,230. The general fund also has a $145,000 contingency fund. Regular program instruction has been tallied at $3,930,303 for the coming year. Special program instruction will total $256,865.

Support services are budgeted this year at a total of $2,369,770. Co-curricular activities have been budgeted at $254,292. Capital outlay expenditures have been budgeted at a total of $867,825. Special education expenditures are budgeted at $944,500. The bond redemption fund is $286,005 for 2000-2001, and the pension fund for early retirement payments totals $90,750. The capital projects fund has a budget of $5,075,000.

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