Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District

Trustees discuss Honeywell, master plan concern

Fri, 03/05/2021 - 10:15am

    Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District trustees discussed Boothbay Region Elementary and High schools’ Honeywell service contract and the finale of the master plan March 3. The contract will go up in price if renewed, since the new heating and ventilation system at BRES is now out of warranty, said Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 Facilities and Maintenance Director Dave Benner.

    “A full preventative maintenance contract for both schools was $76,336 and we had some conversation about how we can pare those contracts back a little bit …,” said Benner.

    The preferred mechanical maintenance contract for both schools would cover all services, including cost of parts and labor, around the clock response all year long and would cost $43,350 for BRES alone. The preferred automation maintenance would cost $9,295 and flex mechanical maintenance would cost $19,840, totaling $29,135. However, aside from the routine maintenance provided for in the contract, non-routine visits such as emergency repairs would not include the cost of parts or labor. The hourly wage under the flex mechanical maintenance would be $154/hr, said Benner.

    Benner recommended going with the full preventative maintenance package and suggested why the board may agree: Over summer, one of the freezers needed emergency maintenance and though it was covered under a previous Honeywell contract, a clerical error resulted in Benner getting a bill.

    “$5,000 and 33 hours of labor … The dilemma on that is if you have a couple of those incidents and you just do a flex mechanical, you're right back up almost to the $43,350. This heating system isn't like a residential heating system … I've rested easy for years and years because we've always done the preferred contract where I can call them 24 hours a day at virtually no cost.”

    Benner said if the board decides not to go with his recommendation and to take the flex mechanical contract, the board should plan to set aside about $10,000 in case of any problems. Acknowledging that Honeywell’s prices have gone up about $20,000, Benner said it might be time to begin looking at other companies such as Siemens. However, Benner said the board should be aware that larger companies like Honeywell and Siemens have proprietary equipment which may not be accessible to technicians from other companies. This could involve the need for new expensive parts, he said.

    Said trustee Kevin Anthony, “If it costs an extra $10,000 a year to make sure we don't have a disaster in the school system, it looks like money well spent to me.”

    The board decided to have Benner explore other options as budget talks continue.

    Said Benner, “If I got anything out of this meeting tonight it's that I think we need more information. Honeywell needs to sharpen their pencil and they need to know that we're looking.”

    Boothbay Harbor resident Lauri Perkins said she believes the CSD did not get everything out of the master planning process it should have, including a more open dialogue to inform Lavallee and Brensinger’s process. Perkins said the wrap up presentation appeared too choreographed and that a lack of communication with the public throughout the project puts little confidence in the plan and the firm. “(And) that makes me really sad because those people were awesome. And I think they'd want to know we have unknown questions.”

    Anthony said communication with the public becomes a problem when the opportunity for a dialogue is missed because few go or tune into the meetings. “We did our best to facilitate a forum so people could participate, but we can't force them to participate. I wish there was all kinds of more input because I don't know why the decision is made by trustees, it should be decisions made by the community.”

    Perkins’ husband, Tom Perkins, suggested if there was a lack of communication between trustees and Lavallee and Brensinger, then any future relationship with an architectural firm needs more communication. “I think the perception of what we just went through is that it was kind of guided the way Keith (Laser, AOS 98 Superintendent) wanted it to come out … That's why I would suggest at least one trustee and maybe a school board member be involved in future discussions.”

    Said Laser, “I didn't drive that boat. That's your impression, but I didn't drive that boat … You don't know the conversations I had with the architects, so you're drawing conclusions when you weren't there.”

    Trustees elected Anthony and Chair Steve Lorrain to the seven-person building committee which is composed of two trustees, two committee members, the superintendent and one selectman each from Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor. The building committee will guide the CSD in the next phase of the master plan which hires a firm to design a school conceptualized in the master plan.

    Benner highlighted issues under remediation, including a boiler leak, pipe leak and fallen tree. Maintenance fixed the pipe leak in the BRHS basement which closed school for a day. The repair included asbestos removal and cost around $5,000. “The pipes are like spaghetti up there, it isn't just one pipe. There are probably 12 to 15 pipes going … in any direction you can think of. It's funny that it's been the same pipe the last four times we've had to deal with it.

    “We had a close call down at the teachers' parking lot where the pre-K through grade two kids come in in the morning. We had the top of a pine tree which came off extremely close (spreading) debris in the parking lot. Luckily there was nobody hit and no property damage, but it was pretty scary.”