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District 427 OKs $2.6 million for air conditioning

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 11:20 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 11:30 p.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Summer improvements to the HVAC systems in four Sycamore School District 427 schools will provide air conditioning in more classrooms.

The school board Tuesday unanimously approved spending $2.6 million with Mechanical Concepts of Romeoville to cool classrooms at North, Southeast and West elementary schools, along with a computer lab and the library at Sycamore High School.

Kreg Wesley, director of operations for District 427, said the improvements will provide equity to all five of the district’s elementary schools.

“This is all being done to expand air conditioning available,” Wesley said. “All classrooms in the elementary schools will be air conditioned.”

He said gymnasiums and mechanical spaces are the only areas of the elementary schools that will not be mechanically cooled.

“Even our newest building, North Grove, does not have an air-conditioned gym,” Wesley said.

Not only is it important to have the classrooms cooled when students return for the fall semester, but Wesley said it will allow opportunities to enrich students’ lives during the summer months.

Work won’t begin until students are released for summer break.

“That’s pretty typical for major maintenance projects,” Wesley said, adding that longer lead times are needed for the equipment being installed.

Wesley said he was pleased that the bids received were lower than originally expected.

Nicole Stuckert, director of financial services for the school district, said the district refinanced some working cash fund bonds in January 2013, freeing $3.9 million to be used for capital projects.

“These projects have been discussed for a couple of years,” Stuckert said.

A portion of the funds already has been spent on replacing a boiler at North Elementary, she said.

Superintendent Kathy Countryman said this issue has been on the board’s radar for some time.

“We’re excited to finally get this accomplished,” Countryman said.

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