South Whidbey School Board approves heat pump fix

The South Whidbey School Board approved a $55,089 replacement of a heat pump at South Whidbey Elementary School at its regular monthly meeting on Dec. 14.

The heat pump in the school’s multipurpose room failed this fall and needed replacing, according to school documents.

The malfunctioning heat pump was installed during the construction of the school. A similar issue regarding a lack of heat in areas of South Whidbey High School has also caused the maintenance staff some headaches.

As the largest unit in the building, the replacement of the heat pump could not “wait until next summer,” the document said. Adding another snag into the mix was the fact it could not be removed or replaced without cutting a hole in the roof or floor for access.

Brian Miller, maintenance director, said in his proposal that he would avoid demolition and reconstruction of the roof or floor by cutting the unit into pieces that will fit through existing access pathways.

The single 10-ton unit will be replaced by two 5-ton units, which will “fit through existing access pathways, providing simpler service and replacement in the future by avoiding the demo/reconstruction process,” the document said.

Miller also said in his proposal that the new units will provide redundancy in a high-use area; if one unit is offline, the other will keep the indoor environment under control.