HVAC upgrades at Wega-Fremont schools
Projects now in engineering phase
By Angie Landsverk
The Weyauwega-Fremont School District is continuing to prepare for HVAC upgrades in two of its schools.
Weyauwega Elementary and W-F High School are set to have their systems updated, with the elementary school project scheduled to occur first.
ATS&R, an architectural firm based in Minneapolis, and Cooperative Educational Service Agency 10, in Chippewa Falls, are both assisting the school district with the project.
ATS&R completed a long-range facility study for the district last year before the board decided to have the firm break out information specifically related to the HVAC systems in the buildings.
Improving air quality and consistent temperatures were among the priorities identified in the overall facility study.
On Aug. 6, ATS&R and CESA 10 presented an update about the upcoming projects, during a meeting attended by the district’s administrative team.
The meeting was noticed as a school board meeting, but no board members attended. District Administrator Scott Bleck did update the board on the progress during the board’s Monday, Aug. 10, Committee of the Whole meeting.
“We’re looking forward to working with you,” Tony Menard, of CESA 10, said during the Aug. 6 meeting.
He will be one of the project managers on the project.
Blayne Parkos, director of mechanical engineering at ATS&R, said the firm will help with the engineering part of the project.
“It’s a matter of balancing quality versus cost,” he said.
Last week, he presented information about two different systems that could be incorporated into the schools.
One is an induction displacement system and the other is a variable air volume system.
Parkos said the induction displacement system is typically used in elementary school classrooms.
The system brings in air from outside, gets rid of its moisture and pushes air at a cooler temperature out to the floor level in the classroom.
Students sitting at desks produce heat and cause the air to warm.
The warm air naturally rises to the ceiling level and then exhausts back outside, he said.
During the winter months, some of that heat would be recovered.
With no fans involved, it is a quiet system.
Nate Curell, manager of energy management at CESA 10, said that is the reason why this type of system is good for elementary classrooms.
“We’ve done quite a few of these,” he said. “We have lots of happy, comfortable folks.”
Parkos said the variable air volume system is the other type of main system being evaluated for the school district.
These types of systems tend to be seen more in high school settings, although there are also some at the elementary level, he said.
Parkos described the system as easy to control and cost effective.
“You can get just as good air quality with this. Typically, these systems can be noisier,” he said.
Regardless of which system they design the project for, there will be rebate opportunities for the district through Focus on Energy, Parkos said.
A team from ATS&R is expected to be in the district next week to walk through the two schools and gather background.
Parkos said the expected life expectancy of both systems would be about the same.
“If you go with the traditional, you should expect to get 20 to 25 years. Some with good maintenance stretch them to 30 to 35,” he said.
Within a few weeks, Parkos expects to have a general idea on the cost of the projects.
He said bidding windows are important in today’s business climate.
Going to bid in November, December or January would likely result in a good bid, according to Parkos.
“Right now we’re hitting the favorable window,” he said in respect to the district’s timeline of wanting to go out for bid around the end of this year.