Western Vance: ‘Not solved anything’
Vance County School administrators are searching for a solution to the heating issue at Western Vance High School, without success.
If the 93-year-old steam pipe system fails this winter, it is uncertain where the students at Western would relocate.
The school’s surplus mobile units are an option, but the building and grounds committee members did not establish any official contingency plan during a meeting Thursday morning.
The cost of relocating each mobile unit is between $7,500 to $8,000.
The committee had previously discussed replacing the steam boiler with heat pumps or window units at their last meeting.
But at Thursday’s meeting, Superintendent Ronald Gregory questioned whether it would be feasible to cover the exorbitant costs involved with installing a new heating system.
“The building itself is not worth that much,” Gregory said.
Based on the committee’s request at their last meeting, facilities director Claiborne Woods presented three preliminary estimates that range from $165,000 to $450,000.
After more than 90 years in use, the pipes have numerous leaks where hot steam escapes, according to a report filed last month.
Woods said there is about $3,700 set aside for patchwork on leaks, but the weather has not permitted his crew to begin work.
He said the patchwork is only a temporary fix.
“I can’t tell you if it’s going to last 30 days, 45 days or 60 days,” Woods said.
Woods first brought the heating issue to the committee’s attention in April and, shortly after, an engineer from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction examined the building.
With a new heating system no longer under consideration, a long-term solution remains unclear.
“I feel like we are going back to square one,” said Ruth Hartness, chairwoman of the building and grounds committee. “We really have not solved anything and we have been discussing this since April.”
The committee also discussed the mold growing in the crawl space beneath Western that developed from the lack of cross-ventilation because the foundation vents in the crawl space are boarded up.
Woods said he plans to prevent future mold from growing by reopening the vents and installing a fan to dry the areas where moisture accumulates.
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