The La Grande School Board voted Wednesday to have the school district begin negotiating a contract with Johnson Controls for a $5.2 million heating system upgrade.
Work will begin in June and should be complete by the end of December, said La Grande School District’s bond and facilities manager, Joseph Waite.
Superintendent George Mendoza said the upgrade work will provide important benefits.
“I’m excited about the improvements we will be making in our schools and the improved energy efficiency we will have,” Mendoza said.
The school district was able to select Johnson Controls — an international company that makes and works with heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment — for the project without going through a bidding process because the corporation is a vetted member of the National Joint Power Alliance. Under Oregon public procurement laws, school districts may sidestep the bidding process by selecting firms from the NJPA for projects like heating work, Waite said.
A significant portion of the work will be done at La Grande High School, which is currently heated by two boilers that are about 43 years old. Both boilers generate steam to heat the school. The older eastern portion of the high school is heated directly with this steam, and the newer western side is heated by hot water created from this steam.
The school district’s plans call for the eastern portion of La Grande High to be heated with hot water. To accomplish this, a heat exchanger will be installed in one of the boilers, Waite said.