District will shut down old High School
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2001
In preparation for another school year of high energy costs, the Albert Lea school district is preparing to shutter the Central High School building to avoid heating it this winter, said Superintendent Dr.
Wednesday, August 22, 2001
In preparation for another school year of high energy costs, the Albert Lea school district is preparing to shutter the Central High School building to avoid heating it this winter, said Superintendent Dr. Dave Prescott.
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&uot;It was a huge added expense last year. This year we’re doing everything we can to prepare for another cold season,&uot; he said.
The high school was always the most expensive building to heat, said Facilities and Transportation Director Bruce Olson. But despite the best efforts to conserve, the natural gas bill for January topped $26,000.
Olson said the Central High building is too large and drafty and the heating system too outdated to be cost efficient. Those facts were part of the reason the district worked so hard to build a new, more energy-efficient high school, he said.
&uot;Heating it last year was a big hit. We were heating two high schools at the same time,&uot; Olson said.
At a minimal cost, Olson estimates a savings of $120,000 this winter simply by taking the building out of service, so he directed his maintenance staff to prepare to drain the building’s pipes and sprinklers and shut down the building’s two steam boilers.
&uot;It makes no sense to continue heating it for the little use we get from it,&uot; Olson said.
To maintain insurance on the building, Olson said a maintenance worker will have to walk through the building weekly. Electricity will also remain on to power monitoring systems and security alarms, he said.
&uot;We’re not abandoning it – not at all. We’re still going to take care of it,&uot; Olson said.
Prescott hopes shuttering the building will be a temporary measure. The district has begun negotiating with an interested developer, and he hopes the building could be sold by the spring.
&uot;We’re making progress and have entered in to a limited purchase agreement with the developer,&uot; Prescott said. &uot;The developer is aware of what we’re doing with the building this winter.&uot;