Work on the $22 million school infrastructure repairs approved by the community in the May 2009 bond referendum has begun, but replacing the boilers at the Hommocks Middle School boiler will take two summers, not the one originally planned. That – along with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the New York State Education Department to qualify for Race to the Top federal funding – was the news at the school board study session on January 5.
Some asbestos removal was done over the winter break, explained representatives from LAN Associates and Triton Construction, the district’s architects and construction manager, respectively.
However, replacing the HVAC system at the Hommocks is “a very technical and difficult project,” said Triton partner Nick Andreadis. The work cannot be done while students are in the building. And since the work requires more hours than can fit efficiently into one summer, the project was split into two phases.
During the summer of 2010, new boilers will be installed in the North and South wings at the Hommocks. Windows will be replaced over the summer and after school hours in the fall of 2010. The remaining HVAC work will be done in the summer of 2011.
Ten Boilers Instead of Two
The current HVAC system uses two boilers to heat the entire middle school building. They will be replaced by ten boilers and eight rooftop units, allowing the building to be heated “pod by pod,” explained Triton project executive Kevin Sawyer. In addition, the old uni-ventilators will be removed from in front of the windows, and new energy-efficient windows will be installed.
Should the district choose, air conditioning can be added to the rooftop units in the future, but that is not part of the current project.
The new boilers will be more efficient and much smaller. Architect Mike McGovern described the two boilers currently in use as “the size of a semi-truck,” whereas the new boilers will each be the size of a dishwasher.
Other innovations will increase energy efficiency as well, including energy recovery ventilation, which pre-heats incoming fresh air. There will be carbon dioxide monitors for large spaces, like the gym, cafeteria and auditorium, which will allow the system to bring in the right amount of fresh air, depending on how many people are in the space.
Initial estimates projected the boiler replacement a 16% decrease in energy use at the Hommocks, but Mr. McGovern projected that by switching to the ten highly efficient small boilers, the district could realize a 25-28% cut in fuel use.
The work will be bid as one package with two phases, and Mr. Andreadis expects interest to be high. “Contractors are hungry right now,” he noted. And this is “an unusually large mechanical project.” The expects bids to come in at or below budget.
According to Mr. Sawyer, estimates for the roof work that is also part of the infrastructure bond have been coming in lower than projected.
What if the Old HVAC System Breaks Down Before the Summer of 2011?
Installing the new HVAC system for the North and South pods will take 70% of the workload from the current system, which will continue to heat the remainder of the building until the summer of 2011.
The architects, construction managers, and Mamaroneck personnel are confident that the old system will be able to handle the remaining 30% for one more winter, as that is less than the capacity of one of the existing boilers. Mamaroneck Director of Facilities George McNally explained that there had never been a time where both boilers were broken.
How Will the Work Affect the Community?
The ongoing project is not expected to impact students at all, but the Hommocks building, including the gym, will be unavailable for any summer camps or other use over the two summers. All work impacting the pool area will be done when the pool is scheduled to be closed for routine maintenance.
Under the revised timetable, upgrades to the Central School HVAC system will be made in the summer of 2011. Roof repairs throughout the district, originally planned for the summer of 2011, will be done this summer. Pushing up the roof works makes it more likely that the district will receive state aid.
Future School Board Meetings
The January 19 board meeting, which will be held in the tiered classroom, will feature presentations by Safe Routes to School and the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Community Counseling Center. Budget reduction workshops will be held on February 2 and 9.