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September 14, 2013

Finishing up a project at Clarksville High School

Officials prepare to complete HVAC at high school

CLARKSVILLE — An unfinished heating, air conditioning and ventilation project at Clarksville High School will get a fresh start, but will cost more than $1.3 million.

The board of trustees for Clarksville Community Schools this week gave superintendent Kim Knott direction on how to approach two major projects at Clarksville High  — a new HVAC system and a study for the school’s auditorium — which will eat up the entirety of a bond worth about $2 million.

Knott said a three-phase project was started on the school’s HVAC system before she became superintendent in 2008, but the third phase never reached completion.

“We had a tendency to do things in parts and I, for one, would like to stop that process,” Knott said. “This is a lot of money, and as the board knows, we have made a commitment to do a bond that will allow us to do some much needed work, not only at the high school but in our two other buildings.”

Knott said after reviewing the original project, she realized there weren’t any provisions for energy savings, Energy Star ratings or rebates.

Jim Bemiss, board member, said phasing out the project was another mistake, especially since the third phase was never completed.

“There’s never quite enough money,” Bemiss said. “We have band-aided and patched the HVAC system for so long. It just seems reasonable to do it one time right. On the other hand, we’ve got a structural situation which we can’t ignore [in the auditorium].”

Knott said with additional costs associated with the bond and the HVAC system, it only left another $300,000 or so to dedicate. She said after a tour of the school with the principal, the school’s auditorium has some structural issues as well as lighting, sound and other needed upgrades.

She said to perform a facility study on the arts wing of the high school, it would take up the remaining $300,000.

Doug Wacker, board member, said though the issues in the auditorium are important, he thinks the HVAC system could have a greater impact on students overall.

“We can’t ignore the structural issue, but we are starting school in August,” Wacker said. “I’ve been in schools where it’s 75 and 80 degrees and seen what that does to the learning process. I agree with Jim, we need to try to do this in one shot and get it done.”

Bill Wilson, board president, said taking care of the issues won’t impact the school’s project for the New Tech School or hurt them, but gave the go-ahead to look at getting those projects started.

“We are in a good financial position,” Wilson said. “We don’t want to jeopardize that, but we want to make the best of our resources. That is the direction of the board.”

The board did not have to vote to give Knott direction on how to approach the projects, but will vote on any spending authorizations that come from her recommendations.

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