Maple Hills, Sunset elementary schools plan to install new heaters

December 14, 2010

By Laura Geggel

Two Issaquah School District schools are slated to receive new heaters this winter break: Maple Hills and Sunset elementary schools.

Maple Hills’ heaters are as old as the school, which was built in unincorporated King County near Renton in 1969. All of the heaters are gas operated, and earlier this year, staff and students reported smelling gas in the 300 wing and music room, according to an e-mail from Maple Hills Principal Monique Beane.

The district’s capital projects and facilities services worked together to locate a heater with a crack in it, district Chief of Finance and Operations Jake Kuper said.

The leak “wasn’t a lot of gas, but it doesn’t take a lot of gas to have a smell,” Kuper said.The district replaced the cracked heater and assessed the other heaters in the school. Administrators learned that 11 smaller heaters at Maple Hills needed to be replaced because they were “not as effective as we’d like,” Kuper said.

The district has space heaters available for teachers and students who need extra heat, but none have requested any yet, he added.

The total cost for the new 11 heaters will be between $100,000 and $120,000, Kuper said.

Across the district, in Bellevue, Sunset has a larger heater that needs replacement. Kuper estimated it would cost $450,000 to buy a new one.

Money for the heaters comes from past bond and capital levy dollars, including the 2006 bond, which set aside $2.5 million for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, known as HVAC, systems.

Thus far, the district has spent $2.3 million of that money.

Kuper said heating could be persnickety at times. The HVAC systems are run by centralized software, but sometimes individual systems do not cooperate.

“We have some cold rooms, some hot rooms,” he said. “Every day we have 800-plus classrooms to bring to our goal temp of 68 to 72 (degrees). If you have 1 percent that aren’t up to your goal, that’s still eight classrooms.”

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or lgeggel@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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