Air quality improvements are in the works for the Brandon School and a portion of the Evansville School, after the Brandon-Evansville School Board approved spending nearly $7.8 million for heating and ventilation needs.

The board will issue general obligation bonds in the amount of $7,270,000 to pay for part of the project, and will use long-term facilities maintenance funding of $510,000 to pay for the rest of the $7,780,000 project, which is expected to be done during the summer of 2020.

It was approved in a 6-1 vote at the Monday, Aug. 19 regular school board meeting in Evansville. Kent Huisman voted against it.

Lori Christensen and Dave Bergeron from ICS Consulting and and Matt Rantapaa from Baird Financial provided details of the projects, including tax impact for district residents.

Air quality improvements for the Evansville School will take place in the 1954 portion of the building and include 13,700 square feet of classrooms, office, kitchen and cafeteria space. Christensen explained that the work in Evansville would include the following:

  • Demolition of existing ventilators.
  • Replacement of existing wiring and devices.
  • Replacement of outdated panels.
  • Replacement of existing interior doors with new doors to meet code compliance.
  • Installation of new hot water air handling units that will provide heating, ventilation and dehumidification.
  • Installation of duct work, zoned temperature devices and hot water heat piping.
  • Installation of a fire suppression system in the 1954 classrooms, office and cafeteria.

The work in Brandon would take place throughout the whole school, encompassing nearly 78,000 square feet, Christensen said. The list of air quality improvement is lengthy and would include the following:

  • Demolition of the existing heating and ventilation system.
  • Installation of new hot water boilers with pumps, controls, piping and other equipment for a complete system.
  • Installation of new air handling units that will provide heating, ventilation and dehumidification.
  • Installation of new digital temperature control system
  • Installation of new ceiling and lights after new duct work is installed.
  • Structural reinforcement for new air handling units.

"This is a big project. The whole building will be under construction," Bergeron told school board members. "The change will be dramatic and students (and staff) will all breathe better."

The work is being done regardless of whether the referendum the district is going for in November passes. Bergeron said the ability for the school district to approve this type funding for this type of project was passed by state legislation for the health and safety of students. As the district provides additional information about the upcoming referendum, he said the tax impact will be communicated for the whole project.

This November, district residents will see two school-related questions on the ballot. The first question will ask voters to approve a $19.9 million referendum that will convert the existing Brandon facility into a pre-kindergarten through grade 12 school.

It will include construction of an elementary school addition and improvements, an early childhood addition and construction of high school renovations and improvements. Those include a band and choir addition, along with improvements to the cafeteria/commons area, classrooms, restrooms, locker rooms and parking lot.

The second question will ask voters to approve a $5.3 million referendum to construct a multipurpose gymnasium addition with locker rooms and a dedicated Charger Kids Club area at the Brandon School site.

Question two is contingent on question one passing.

Regardless if one, both or neither of the questions pass, the air quality improvement projects will move forward.