RUSTBURG —The Campbell County School Board has unanimously approved plans from Southern Air for a new HVAC system for Brookville Middle School.

Brookville Middle currently has a multi-zone HVAC system that was installed when the school was built in 1974.

TJ Morton, senior mechanical design engineer for Southern Air, said the current system is energy inefficient, provides poor indoor air quality management, has old pneumatic controls that are difficult to maintain due to its age and has refrigerant circuits with Freon R-22 — a common refrigerant used in air conditioners that will be phased out across the country by 2020 — or inefficient replacement refrigerants.

“You currently have one of the most energy inefficient systems we’ve ever seen,” Southern Air President Paul Denham told school board members during their meeting Monday.

Southern Air has proposed Campbell County Public Schools invest in a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) with dedicated outdoor air units to provide ventilation air for the school. The system will cost about $3.5 million and may vary slightly depending on the detailed design.

Morton said by using the VRF system, the school can realize large efficiency gains, which in turn will reduce energy costs, and the new equipment will mean reduced maintenance costs. Morton also listed improved indoor air quality, modern controls to provide proper temperature and humidity control in each classroom and an overall healthier learning environment for students and staff as benefits of a VRF system.Southern Air has installed VRF systems for about 10 years and most recently installed these systems in nine Amherst County Public Schools.

“VRF allows us to transfer heat from a classroom that needs cooling to one that needs heating and vice versa,” Morton said.

Morton said the school also will be able to set the temperature higher or lower during the night to save energy in the summer and the winter.

“Modern controls also allow for better humidity control and better temperature control in the space,” Morton said.

Southern Air would use four different zones for the VRF system and reuse some existing ductwork to distribute ventilation air to some of the classrooms, Morton said.

A rough schedule of completion would be to conduct design work throughout the rest of the year and early next year and construction would start early next year and finish in the summer.

At the end of the meeting Superintendent RobertJohnson gave the school board an update on the status of Brookville High School’s gym floor, which needs to be completely replaced as a result of the Aug. 2 flooding.

About 60 percent of the old gym floor has been removed at the school and will have to sit at least a week to test the concrete to see if there’s moisture, Johnson said.

Johnson said school officials met with engineers who looked at the storm drain system in the area and will give ideas on how to have an emergency diversion to get water away from the school.

“They still believe that the drain was probably overwhelmed. It wasn’t anything to do with repaving the tennis courts or anything unusual. From the time that place was built to when the storm system was put in, there’s been a lot of additions up on Timberlake Road, a lot more pavement, and then you get 7 inches of rain in and an hour and 50-something minutes, it overwhelmed the system,” Johnson said.

At Brookneal Elementary School, Johnson said a piece of the gym floor has been roped off because it is a little warped but “nothing like at Brookville.”

“We would have to talk about repairing a part of that but when you do that you know they repair it and they’ll have to come back and sand the whole floor down and repaint it and refinish it. We might be able to figure out a process to get through summertime,” Johnson.

The Campbell County School Board meets again at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Campbell County Technical Center.

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Liz Ramos covers K-12 education for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5532.

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