The boiler at Great Bend High School’s Panther Activity Center (PAC) never has worked well. Now, the boiler and pump are scheduled for replacement, Superintendent Khris Thexton told the USD 428 Board of Education in November.
Thexton said the boiler has been an ongoing problem.
“It will warm up the building and then shut itself off. It’s not cycling like it should,” he said. “It’s been a fight from the start.” The boiler was installed in 2007 and a typical life expectancy is 25 years. Several experts have been called in over the years but they were unable to fix it.
“We’ve thrown everything at it,” he said. “I think we’ll have to go in and start over from scratch.”
Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) engineering firm, based in Wichita, will take a look at the building, Thexton said. After engineering drawings are completed, the school board should be ready to release the project for bids this month. “We’re going to revamp, replace and probably re-pipe,” he said.
Capital outlay funds will be used to pay for this project. It is not yet known how much it will cost, but Thexton said last March PEC guessed it might be around $250,000.
Projects at facilities are scheduled year-round. Some can be done when classes are in session without disrupting the learning going on, while others are done during the winter break or in the summer.
Rooftop HVAC maintenance
Rooftop heat, ventilation and air conditioning units are inspected on a routine basis for repairs, upgrades and end-of-life replacement, Thexton said. “Across the district we had 225 rooftop units that are inspected and maintained by district staff.”
Other projects coming up include:
• Restoration and replacement of the 30-year-old roof at the Central Kitchen, as well as floor replacement.
• Floor tile replacement at the GBHS Kitchen.
• Repair and refinish gym floors at Eisenhower and Park Elementary Schools.
• Replace siding on the Cavanaugh Soccer Complex building and replace flooring inside the building.
LED lighting upgrades are done throughout the district as old fixtures burn up.
Thexton said there are other updates he’d like to see, including upgrading mobile radios to the style of radio recently purchased by the City of Great Bend and Great Bend Fire Department, and adding keyless building access to buildings. Although the district put plans for a bond issue on hold after the COVID-19 pandemic began, the superintendent said schools still need safe rooms and additional learning space.
Thexton told the school board in November that he’d also like to see work done on the district playgrounds. The district hasn’t done a lot to its playgrounds in recent years, with most improvements funded by parent-teacher groups. The most recent upgrade was done by the Park School Booster Club.
“It would be great to find a way to somehow upgrade our playgrounds,” Thexton said, noting they are used after school by the public as well as by students during the school day. The district has been looking for some grants. “We’re still looking at options,” he said. But, “the money isn’t there right now for those kind of projects.”