Lawsuit threat gets RB boilers fixed for free

Repair to pool fan split with manufacturer

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By BOB SKOLNIK

The problems with the boilers and the swimming pool ventilation system at Riverside-Brookfield High School have been fixed, and one of those projects didn't cost the school an additional dime while the other came at a discount.

The work on the boilers was done two weeks ago by technicians from Mechanical Inc. and Johnson Controls at no charge to District 208, while it cost RBHS $2,700 to replace the fan on the roof of the swimming pool.

"We think the problem has been rectified," said District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis.

The boilers had not been synchronizing properly. The solution was to extend the pipe feeding gas to the boilers.

"From where the valves and the regulators were they had to extend the length of the pipe and include one more elbow to kind of prevent the boilers from locking up," Skinkis said. "We added an elbow and extended the pipe three feet longer on each boiler, and everything seems to be up and running and working effectively."

The work was done at no charge to the district, because school officials insisted that the boilers were installed incorrectly. Mechanical Inc. denied that but ultimately decided to do the work when RBHS threatened legal action.

"We sent a letter from our attorney to the bond company and to McHugh Constriction Company, and the problem has been resolved," Skinkis said.

School officials maintained that the piping work that was done should have been done when the boilers were installed by Mechanical Inc. a few years ago.

"It wasn't the boilers per se themselves." said Dennis Kosirog, the school's facilities manager. "It was the piping that fed the gas to the boilers. That was not installed correctly. That was our contention and we had drawings that indicated that as well, so that is what we had them do. Johnson Controls was in as well, because when you modify one part it generally has a little reaction to the others, and there was some slight adjustment to be done and they took care of that. "

Kosirog is waiting for the first blast of really cold weather just to make sure the boilers are working correctly, but he is confident that the problem has been solved.

"We're in good shape with the boilers," Kosirog said. "The only thing we want to wait for is a good cold snap and run them through their paces."

Pool fan replaced

Also, two weeks ago, an installer from Seresco, the Canadian company that manufactured the fan for the swimming pool, was on the roof installing a new fan.

The original fan, installed a few years ago when the pool was built, failed over the summer, leaving the pool atmosphere very hot and humid.

"It was pretty darn uncomfortable for seven or eight weeks there, and I'm glad it's fixed," said District 208 school board member Dan Moon, whose daughter is on the swim team.

A Seresco installer was flown in from Louisiana to install the new fan.

"The unit is up and running," Kosirog said. "The atmosphere in the pool is where it should be, so that's all taken care of and in good shape."

A new fan, new supports and new springs were all installed. That work cost RBHS about $2,700 as the school and Seresco split the cost.

 "Unlike the boilers where we could point to something specific to verify that the ownership [of the problem] lay on so and so's shoulder, we couldn't do that with Seresco," Kosirog said. "It could have been a lot of things that caused that. We couldn't prove or say with certainty that it was a manufacturing design problem or flaw ... so I think we came up with a compromise, and I think we got the best of the deal." 

School officials think that vibration caused the fan to fail. They have taken some steps to lessen the vibration, such as using a larger pulley for the engine and putting in extra shock absorption.

Officials have also increased the service schedule for the fan's engine and filters to monthly instead of every 60 or 90 days.

 

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