G-C to install air conditioning in gymnasium


GREENFIELD — You won’t have to use your program as a makeshift fan during this year’s Greenfield-Central High School commencement. The school’s gymnasium will have air conditioning for the first time in 50 years.

The Greenfield-Central School Board accepted a contract last week with Performance Services, an Indianapolis-based construction company, for a new HVAC system, LED lights and a paint job on the gymnasium ceiling. The project totals $862,616, said Superintendent Harold Olin.

Olin said the school board has been looking into adding air conditioning to the gymnasium, which was built in 1968, for the past decade. The project originally was part of a major renovation that took place from 2008 to 2010. The district spent $72 million on school buildings, including about $30 million at the high school campus, Olin said. The board later decided to forego air conditioning in order to cut costs.

In 2012, Performance Services wrote specifications for the HVAC work and collected bids, which the board later rejected, Olin said. Now, the corporation plans to pay for the nearly $870,000 worth of work from its cash balance left over from 2018, adding the district won’t need to bond for the renovations.

“We just felt like the timing was right," Olin said.

Crews will remove the existing ductwork that’s only used for heating and replace it with a new system optimized for chilled-water cooling units, Olin said. The district also plans for the gymnasium to have 90 new LED light fixtures instead of the current fluorescent lights as well as a newly painted ceiling and ductwork.

High school staff and students won’t be able to use the gymnasium starting in mid-March, Olin said. He said the work should last six to eight weeks and finish well before commencement on June 8.

“When you’re wearing those robes and you’re under those lights, and with 3,000, 4,000 people in that gym, yeah, it’s pretty warm," Olin said about past ceremonies.

Communities now expect gymnasiums to have air conditioning, especially to provide comfort year-round for athletic events and graduation ceremonies, Olin said. The new HVAC system will also allow for more use during the spring and summer months, he added.

Jason Cary, principal of Greenfield-Central High School, said not only will air conditioning benefit those who attend and take part in commencement, but students who participate in fall and spring sports and also convocations.

"This project will touch a lot of people in our community," Cary said via email.

Olin said the upgrades will complement work that’s recently been completed in the gymnasium. Over the past few months, crews have added new digital scoreboards and repainted the gym thanks to contributions from Hancock Health.

“By the time that we get some air conditioning and some LED lights in there, I think it’s going to be an even better place than it already is," Olin said.

The school board will also consider construction projects for 2019 and discuss potential funding options at a work session at 4 p.m. on Friday in the G-C Education Service Center, 700 N. Broadway.

The board asked the administrative team to conduct a facilities audit over the past six months, Olin said. The team has since then discovered the need for more routine maintenance, chillers and roofs to be replaced, new restrooms and other possible building additions and renovations. The board and administrative officials will meet with Performance Services architects to talk through future projects.

“We have a list of priorities we know we want to hit, but there’s still room there in what we think we’re willing to borrow," Olin said. "The board needs to determine what that dollar amount is and the scope of that work.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”By the numbers” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Greenfield-Central Schools plans to spend nearly $870,000 on upgrades to the high school gymnasium. Here’s how the work breaks down.

Air conditioning installation — $733,570

LED light replacement — $76,363

Structure, ceiling painting — $52,684

TOTAL COST — $862,616

Source: Greenfield-Central Schools