Community meeting set for new Woonsocket School boiler system

Boiler 37 web    The Woonsocket School Board will hold a public meeting during its regular scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 9, at 6 p.m. in the Library.
There will be a presentation by G&R Controls, Inc. of Sioux Falls on a new gymnasium boiler system. After the presentation, there will be time for community input and discussion.
The gymnasium/armory steam boiler is 55 years old and needs to be replaced, mostly due to inside deterioration. The boiler, which runs on fuel oil, delivers steam heat throughout the 1962 armory building.  It also separates and condenses steam to hot water, which is then pumped to the elementary addition.
The school board approved G&R Controls last fall to investigate possible solutions. The most efficient form of heating discussed was geothermal with the possibility of utilizing Lake Prior. The rough estimate was 1.4 million.
The next G&R proposal was to replace the steam boiler with two smaller propane hot water boilers. All the current steam piping under the armory would have to be replaced to handle the new hot water system. The proposal added a LP gas tank farm to be able to purchase large quantities at a cheaper rate. The new system would also have the capability to switch and run on electricity depending on the lowest utility rates. The rough estimate for this system was $750,000.
Lastly, installation of roof top units was discussed and G&R recommended that the cost would be quite expensive and with very limited options for the elementary building. For one reason, the ceiling to rooftop height in the elementary is too low for the size of ductwork needed.
After much investigation and consideration to what other schools were doing in similar situations, the school board requested a new proposal from G&R controls. This included replacing the old boiler with two new propane steam boilers and utilizing the existing steam pipes and condenser. This proposal will basically just connect the two new smaller propane boilers to our current system. If one of the boilers fails in the future, the other boiler could run both the gym and elementary to keep everything heated until the problem is fixed.
We also recommended to switch from fuel oil to propane, which would make the system more efficient. This includes adding the LP tank farm and the option to switch the system to electricity that was previously proposed.
The intention of the new proposal is a more practical solution for the school and community of Woonsocket. The timeline for a new heating system is: 1.) Approving a final proposal this summer; 2.) Allowing G&R to draw up plans in the fall; and 3.) Bid in late winter for the project to be completed during the summer of 2018.
The public is invited to the presentation on May 9 so all concerns and questions can be answered. You can also contact Supt. Rod Weber at 796-4431 about the project.

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