By Ross Markman
Six years ago, the Havre School District had a new roof built on Sunnyside Intermediate School, with the expectation of ultimately installing a new heating and ventilation system.
Come August, that system should be in place.
The Havre school board Tuesday approved going out to bid for the project, which district officials anticipate awarding at its next meeting on April 9.
The school's heating system, according to district director of operations Ric Floren, is outdated and does not meet current standards.
Voters three years ago approved spending $450,000 on the project, Floren said. Although that figure isn't a definite, he added, the district is anticipating it will be close.
The current system still functions, but the combination of a 50-year-old boiler and rotting pipes has forced the district to make improvements.
"The problem is, it doesn't regulate the heat very quickly," Floren said. "This new system will do that and run the heating through the roof."
Dave Zahler, the project's architect, said the system will actually be done in two phases. Before the heating ducts are installed, a 1,400-square-foot addition must be built on the east side of the school. The garage-sized addition will house the new boiler system, as well as the system's electrical and mechanical controls.
Work could begin as early as May 1, said Zahler, chief structural engineer at the Great Falls-based firm Thomas, Dean & Hoskins.
"We're going to send this out to all the contractors we feel are qualified," he said. "We're trying to match the existing brick look (of Sunnyside)."
As for the heating and ventilation, Zahler said the system is comparable to those installed in newly constructed schools. Havre Middle School, built in 1982, has a similar system.
Providing a steady flow of low-volume air, the new system will not include air conditioning, Zahler said, but has the capability with the addition of compressors.
"With the current heating, no fresh air can come in," he said. "This system gives renewed oxygen."
Once installed, noise emitted from the heating ducts will be minimal, Zahler said. And the ducts, some measuring 52 inches by 40 inches, are "quite large," the architect added.
"This system is really energy efficient," Zahler said. "All of the buildings I've seen it in show a big difference."