District-wide improvements to heating and cooling on the way
March 21, 2022 — Midland ISD is upgrading its heating, cooling and air purification systems. The district plans to begin replacing HVAC systems before the start of the next school year, thanks in large part to a federal grant.
The district intends to use $10 million in ESSER II funding and $5 million in local funding to upgrade HVAC systems across the district, starting with 24 campuses whose air conditioning and heating units have been identified as needing replaced.
With aging equipment comes more frequent outages and repairs - ramifications that have been felt by students and teachers alike when temperatures rise at the start of the school year. The HVAC replacement project will tackle this issue, according to Kellie Spencer, Chief of Administrative Services. “These upcoming HVAC upgrades will help create an environment where students can focus on learning, not the temperature inside,” shared Spencer.
The project involves more than heating and cooling. Indoor air quality will be addressed by upgrading outside air intakes for all air handler units. Air intake upgrades will help keep indoor air fresher and cleaner. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, districts across the US have received federal funding through ESSER. A major component of ESSER II is to address air quality in schools.
Air intake upgrades will complement the filter work that began in MISD schools two years ago, when the district switched from filters with a MERV 8 rating to ones rated at MERV 13. In short, the higher the MERV rating, the better a filter traps specific kinds of particles. (Read more from the EPA.)
MISD anticipates a major reduction in annual utility consumption and associated operational costs with new HVAC units. “Our plan is to install several new boilers and chillers, refresh air handlers and upgrade or replace existing panels, switch gear and secondary pumps,” said Wes Jones, Director of Maintenance. “The new equipment will be much more energy efficient than the old ones they're replacing, some of which are more than 30 years old.”
Greater energy efficiency means financial savings for taxpayers, and it also means less power consumption at peak times, which is good for the electrical grid and the community. Plus, ONCOR offers rebates for organizations that install energy efficient equipment. “That money goes straight into our utilities fund to help maintain our equipment,” Spencer said.
At its monthly meeting in February, School Board Trustees voted to choose Trane Industries as its partner for the project. The goal is to have much of the work started by the beginning of the 2023-24 school year after a contract is finalized.