By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

The Washington County School System recently placed a new maintenance need at the top of its list.

At Washington County’s Health, Education and Welfare Committee meeting on Thursday, July 3, commissioners unanimously approved a plan to replace the boiler at David Crockett High School for $196,000.

The boiler replacement is a maintenance need the school system’s director of schools, Bill Flanary, and maintenance supervisor, Phillip Patrick, said was not currently on the school district’s list of maintenance improvement needs, but has quickly risen to the top.

“On our large list of priorities, this boiler was not on that list,” Patrick said to the HEW Committee. “But it’s a situation where you do your maintenance, one day it finally goes and you have to replace it. That’s where this falls. That boiler’s probably outlived itself by about 10 years.”

Patrick said the boiler, which school officials said was at least 30 years old, went out in the spring, but it was able to be patched in order to make it through the remainder of the school year. Now, the plan is to replace the boiler with a three-boiler system that is expected to be more efficient.

“What we’re going to have is three Lockinvar condensing boilers,” Patrick said. “They’re smaller boilers, but they’ll have some redundancy. We lose one, we’ll have some time to replace it and, quite possibly, get one at a cheaper price because we wouldn’t have to do an emergency purchase for the replacement. The efficiency should be good enough to offset some of the natural gas costs.”

The boiler replacement will most likely also be part of the energy savings plan the Washington County Board of Education will be evaluating. Energy Savings Group, a Johnson City-based company that helps improve an organization or business’s energy efficiency.

At the school board’s June meeting, ESG Business Development Manager Russ Nelson said the boilers are certain to be part of the comprehensive energy saving plan for the school system, which the board of education will consider. The board of education later discussed the ESG plans on Monday, June 17, but no action was taken.

“We have a phenomenal project depending on what you choose to include in it,” Nelson said to the board during the boiler discussion. “It will definitely pay for itself from energy and maintenance (cost reductions). We’ve got over 2,000 hours of engineering into this now. We’ve really learned a lot about your buildings. We don’t have any question these boilers are gonna make the project. And if you chose to not do some of the heavy HVAC replacement work, that’s the really slow payback stuff. That’s just work you need to do. I don’t see any reason (not to). This is a win-win for the schools and the county.”