Baldwin City school board approves $2 million contract to replace high school HVAC system

At a special meeting Monday, the Baldwin City school board approved a nearly $2 million contract to replace the aging heating and air conditioning system at Baldwin High School.

School Superintendent Paul Dorathy said the board approved a $1.99 million energy performance contract and lease purchase agreement with Willdan Energy Solutions, of Lawrence, to replace the system, which dates to the high school’s construction in 1995. The project will completely replace the existing heating and air conditioning systems and refurbish the ventilation system with new controls.

The board has been studying how to make the expensive upgrade since 2015, when it was warned that there was a possibility the system could fail.

The lease purchase will be paid off with 15 annual payments from the district’s capital outlay fund and will not require the board to increase the mill levy, Dorathy said. The district’s current mill levy for its capital outlay fund is 8 mills, which is the maximum that state law allows.

Willdan will act as construction manager of the project, Dorathy said. Subcontractors P1 Group, of Lawrence, and Elite Automation, of Overland Park, will start on the replacement project on May 18. Work is to be completed in August for the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

“The system that’s in the high school has never worked as intended,” Dorathy said. “It’s really time for the change. It will be more comfortable in the building.”