The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning improvement project for the Brandon-Evansville School is moving full steam ahead.

Last fall, school board members approved spending $7.8 million to improve indoor air quality by replacing the boilers and upgrading the ventilation infrastructure at both the Brandon and Evansville schools.

The Minnesota Legislature allows school boards to make necessary health and safety improvements by using long-term facilities maintenance bonds, backed by a local levy.

Jeff Flettre, project manager with ICS Consulting, the firm hired by the district to help with its facility needs, provided the school board with an update at its Tuesday, Jan. 27 regular meeting.

“It’s all coming together well and there’s not a lot of surprises,” Flettre told school board members. “As far as the design goes, it’s looking fine.”

Flettre said the plan is to add two propane boilers in Evansville instead of one fuel oil boiler. He said it was the best solution.

The 1954 portion of the building would have its own heating system and the 1917 portion of the Evansville School would be closed off and completely sealed up.

The propane boilers would save the district money, be more efficient and require less maintenance, Flettre said.

“All-in-all, it’s a positive thing,” he told school board members. “It (two boilers instead of one) was not planned for, but works overall within the budget. Everything looks good budget-wise.”

Flettre answered questions from the board by saying that the system would be expandable, that propane consistently costs less than fuel oil, it would be cheaper to run and that although it may be hard to see the slight design change as positive, it truly is.

Although not all of board members were pleased with the change, they agreed that as long as the project stays within the budget, it would work just fine.

Flettre also said that when the project is put for bids, an alternate bid item would be added to find out how much a new roof would cost.

The money cannot come out of the same funds as the indoor air quality funds. However, the school district could use Long-term Facilities Maintenance dollars for a roof project if the board approved it.

Flettre said with new lighting and new ceilings as part of the ventilation project, to have a roof leak would not be a good solution, which is why it is being added as an alternate to determine the cost.

More information will be brought to the February board meeting, which is set for Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m.

Action taken

As it was the first meeting of the new year, the school board approved several yearly items, including officers, salaries and committee assignments, which all remained the same.

Chairman is David Anderson, vice chairman is Tim Lauthen, treasurer is Randy Bettermann and clerk is Diane Richter.

Salaries include mileage for regular and committee meetings and were set at $850 for the chairman, $800 for other officers and $750 for the rest of the board. Per diems for committee meetings are $25, or $50 if the meeting is longer than three hours.

The official newspaper is the West Douglas County Record and the official depositories are Bremer Bank, First Security Bank of Evansville and MN Trust.

School board members also approved the hiring Kate Fernholz as the business manager. She will be replacing Vicki Ellis, who is retiring.