2012-07-05 / Front Page

Board makes selection for boiler project

Middle/high boilers to cost over $600K

MANISTIQUE – Manistique Middle/High School will be the recipient of two new boilers this summer, at a cost of $630,450. The purchase was recently approved during a meeting of the MAS Board of Education.

According to Steve Boettcher, of Integrated Designs, Inc., the architecture/engineering/consulting firm for the boiler replacement project, three bids were received for the project. He explained the project includes the school’s switch from steam to hot water heating, as well as the conversion of any remaining air handling units.

“I suspect this is going to save this district some money, operational fund in gas each year,” Boettcher said. “In addition to that … we took bids for two different types of boilers.”

The two types of boilers include a standard boiler and a more industrial boiler, intended to have a longer life and less maintenance, he added. The standard boiler would only have a life span of approximately 20 years, Boettcher explained, while the industrial boiler could last anywhere from 30 to 40 years.

“Years ago, they built boilers for

40 or 50 years. The one that you’re using right now is dated back to the 50s,” he said. “There are boilers out there that are still made for a longer life, the problem is, competitively wise, they cost more, so they never really get considered.”

The additional cost for the two industrial boilers would be approximately $25,500 a piece, and that cost was added as line items in the bids for the board’s consideration, Boettcher explained.

“I hated to bid it on a more expensive boiler and be over the budget or the funds that were available for this year,” he said. “We are below what we have available to work with, so we’re in good shape.”

The project is being paid for out of the school’s sinking fund, which has a current balance of $675,000.

“This will basically spend the sinking fund money that we currently have,” said Donna Winkel, MAS administrative assistant. “Then we collect about $480,000 annually, so, next February, we will collect that much more and we can start again.”

Boettcher noted that the industrial boilers had a better independent rating, and would be slightly more efficient than the standard boilers. A savings of anywhere $4,000 to $6,000 in heating costs could be expected by the district each year, he added.

“The boiler is made with a lot better materials,” Boettcher said. “It’s made stronger, but it’s probably easier, in the long run, to maintain, and it has at least a 30 year, probably a 40 year longer life. If you’re doing it, and you expect the life of the school to be here for 40 years, that may be a consideration”

Giannine Perigo, board vice president, questioned whether having such a long life span would really be worth it, as new types of energy are likely to be developed in that amount of time.

“Your infrastructure is going to be hot water,” Boettcher explained. “Unless you change out the total infrastructure of the school, you are having to live with that kind of technology.”

He also noted that, while the boiler is going to cost more to the district in the beginning, it should be paid for in seven to 10 years.

“You’re using your sinking fund to potentially save money in your general operating fund,” Boettcher said. “I think you’re easily going to recoup the money.”

When asked by the board what Randy Watchorn, MAS maintenance supervisor, thought about the purchase, Boettcher explained that he had been open to either the standard or industrial boilers.

“He obviously was concerned about the additional cost, because he’s looking at the $41,000,” he said.

Boettcher added that repairs would be easier on the industrial boiler, due to its construction, and that the district would be able to buy any parts needed from suppliers in Green Bay, Wis. or Traverse City.

Superintendent Kathy McDonough reminded the board of the project’s timeline, noting the crews would be taking advantage of the summer months.

“The project needs to get rolling for us to meet an October completion date,” she said.

The board unanimously approved the purchase of the more expensive boilers for a total of $630,450. Board member Tim Zellner was absent.

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