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Facilities Team Upgrades Chillers To Maintain Cool, Comfortable Buildings

As the days get longer and the sun shines brighter, it’s important CPS has the proper infrastructure to ensure safety and comfort for everyone throughout the district. Air-conditioned buildings are vital to combating increased temperatures and humidity.

That’s why new chillers are being installed at the following ten schools: Bond Hill Academy, Ethel M. Taylor Academy, John P. Parker School, Oyler School, Roberts Academy, Rockdale Academy, Riverview East Academy, Shroder High School, South Avondale School and Walnut Hills High School.

Security and Controls Manager Lekendalle Heights is relieved these projects, which take two-to-five weeks each, are on schedule to be completed before the hottest months of the year.

“Our mission statement is to provide a clean, safe and comfortable environment,” Heights said. “The comfortable part of it is the air conditioning, heating and ventilation of our buildings.”

Ventilation and air quality are priorities for the use of ESSER funding, a federal emergency relief plan supporting projects that improve public school experiences. Funds have been allotted toward the replacement and installation of energy-efficient equipment, plus ongoing chiller factory training allowing CPS employees to learn the new monitoring technology. 

Because mechanical failures can accelerate the life expectancy of equipment and lead to increased energy bills, Heights is taking all the steps necessary to make sure the new and improved HVAC systems run as smoothly as possible.

“We’re looking at a return on our investment,” Heights added. “How can we save on our buildings and infrastructure to ensure that we can invest back into our children’s future? We provide a safe, clean and comfortable environment for the kids, but then we also have to find strategic ways to spend on our infrastructure so that we can reinvest back into our classrooms.”

These upgrades, however, only account for a fraction of the district’s infrastructure. Heights and his team are looking into systems that use chillers for both heating and cooling without gas or fuel, another major energy-saving consideration, as other equipment reaches its life expectancy.

Heights is confident heading into another air conditioning season, which begins every year around April 1. The facilities operations crew will do what it takes to keep CPS buildings running cool and comfortable over the next six months.

“We’ve got the right team and tools in place, now we want to play the game and get through another season with no concerns,” Heights said.