Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

Cooler climate

Voltage upgrade cools off Central Elementary

Many are thanking Claiborne Electric for the cooler temperatures at Central Elementary, where air conditioning units were unable to properly cool rooms due to a reported lack of voltage.

"We really appreciate Claiborne Electric," Webster Parish School Board member, Robert Holloway said. "Also, our maintenance workers – who often go unnoticed, and the teachers and principal who helped and really worked hard to see the issue was taken care of."

Holloway said board member Jerry Lott met with representatives from Claiborne Electric Sunday.

"Mark Brown, the general manager at Claiborne Electric, and their workers really went above and beyond what was required of them," Lott said. "The principal, Ms. Toland, and the teachers worked to keep parents informed and answered countless phone calls; our maintenance workers and others have worked diligently to resolve the problem, and I am grateful that we have people like them in our system."

According to Lott, there have been questions in the past regarding voltage supply at the school.

"Come to find out it (voltage) was not enough," he said. "They (Claiborne Electric) spent all day Sunday replacing power lines and transformers so that we are now supposedly equipped with enough voltage to run the current set up and to support what we will be placing there."

Earlier this summer, the board advertized to accept bids on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) work at Central. After accepting a bid, a contractor disputed the legality of the process.

At the August 9 board meeting, the board determined the bids would be taken under advisement, at the suggestion of their attorney.

According to an email sent on August 18 by Yeager, Watson & Associates Inc., the board should repeat the advertizement and accept new bids.

"Based on their (Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors) conclusion, I recommend the board reject all bids, revise the project and re-advertise for bids again in four to six weeks," it read.

According to the email, the contractor's licensing board met the previous day, August 17, and determined general contractors should not have been allowed to bid on the project unless they also carried a mechanical license or passed an equivalency test.

The board must now repeat the advertizing and bidding process and accept a bid before the HVAC alterations can begin.

Board President Johnnye Kennon said now that the voltage problem has been resolved, she believes there are only a few remaining classrooms that do not cool as adequately as they would like, but this was a problem with the HVAC system before the voltage problem came to light.

"I want to stress that we are addressing issues as fast as we can," Kennon said. "We do not place one school's needs above another and we do not favor any school.

"We all have family members in the schools and we care about each student as if they were a part of our family," she continued. "We are doing our best to resolve issues as they arise."






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