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By David Knopf/Richmond News
Richmond School Board voted unanimously Oct. 9 to award a $52,798 contract to Oliphant’s Heating and Cooling, Inc. to replace a 27-year-old heating-and-air system in the high school gym.
Oliphant, a local business, will replace the old system on the gym’s mezzanine level with an American Standard unit with 10-ton condensing units, a gas furnace rated at 120,000 BTU and 95-percent efficiency.
Oliphant also bid on the cost of replacing the current HVAC unit with rooftop heating-and-air equipment, a move that would’ve freed up space for other uses in the gym. However, it was estimated that the rooftop unit, a 20-ton system, would’ve provided only 80-percent efficiency and not qualify the district for potential efficiency rebates from Missouri Gas & Electric and Kansas City Power and Light.
The outside system was also $4,000 more expensive.
“If we’re going to do a replacement, I’d recommend that we do the one inside that’s not exposed to the elements,” Director of Support Services Jeff Southwick said.
Southwick said that with replacement parts unavailable, the district has had to cannibalize one unit on the mezzanine in order to fix another.
“They were put in in 1985 and of course, we can’t find parts,” he said.
The school board voted 7-0 to contract with Oliphant, the only bidder on either replacement option.
In other business last week, the board:
〈 Learned after lengthy discussion that Midwest Computech, the district’s outsourced technology firm, would provide the manpower and time needed to correct inconsistencies, reformat and reload R-XVI’s computer operating systems and software.
There would be no additional charge to the district for personnel and hours that aren’t specified in the contract, Assistant Superintendent Julie Stevenson said, but it would be up to the district to put together a plan that details what is needed.
Stevenson made the announcement after a back-and-forth discussion between board members, Superintendent Damon Kizzire and onsite technician Eric Graves, a Midwest Computech employee.
Stevenson left the room to call a manager at the company to arrive at a solution.
Earlier, Board Vice President Connie Taylor pressed Graves on how many additional workers and hours would be needed to speed the process and correct the district’s technology problems.
Graves said it wasn’t an easy question to answer because some of the district’s computers are older than others, have different software and suffer from battery issues.
Frustrated not to have something specific to go on, Taylor asked Kizzire to get to the heart of the matter.
“What we need from you, Dr. Kizzire, is to get with Eric about hours,” she said. “If he’s saying he needs help, we need to at least talk and see what we can give him.”
Estimating, Kizzire said he thought five additional workers could solve the problems in a week.
Board member Jon Thoreson asked Graves if he could put a figure on what he’d already completed.
“A big chunk of what I’ve done is put a Band-aid on them,” he said. “I just can’t give you a figure.”
Before leaving the room to make her phone call, Stevenson advised the board to be careful what it talked about in public.