The heat is on for the Dome

The Payette High School dome, is pictured on May 14. Bids are being sought to find out how much it will cost to fit the dome for modern HVAC units, as parts for the existing heaters inside the dome are not made anymore.

PAYETTE - With one of its original 1972 heaters needing parts which aren’t made anymore and the other being kaput, the Payette School District Board of Trustees expressed its desire to move forward with getting Payette High School’s domed gymnasium fitted for a new HVAC system.

At their Zoom meeting on May 11, the Board reviewed what they would need to get bids going on the project.

“Last winter we started talking about this, once the dome lost heat. We have to replace those heaters that are [obsolete],” said Superintendent Robin Gilbert. “Basically, we need to redesign because all the units that are available all go on a roof. 

Due to the design of the gymnasium, any new HVAC units fitted to the dome would need to be engineered to be ground-mounted and duct work fed into the dome. Two units would be needed, Gilbert noted.

The first step would be an expensive one: Getting the plans drawn up to send to bids.

“It will take about twelve-to-fifteen thousand dollars in just engineering costs to place that on the ground, and then do all of the HVAC and then remodeling that,” Gilbert reported. “Knowing that we’re not running a bond to build a new school, knowing that we’re still considering if we were to run a bond to do a partial of it and leave the dome up for years … We need to get a minimum of another eight years out of that building. I know we won’t get that much out of the heating system.”

Gilbert said that after taking into account the costs of work being done at Westside and the district’s tennis courts, money would be tight in the District’s plant facilities budget but that the timing was right due to novel coronavirus COVID-19.

A temporary unit costing $10,000 was not approved by the Payette Fire Department, said Gilbert.

Board Chairman Adam Rynearson expressed that this project would serve as a means of showing the public what they would get out of approving future bond measures.

“The plant facilities levy that the community provides for us … It’s a big deal,” said Rynearson. “I really, really want our community to understand how grateful we are to be able to maintain these the way they need to be maintained for community use. Once life gets back to normal, I hope the community use[s] these facilities that we’re putting money into, and see where the money is spent.”  

Trustee Andy Kirkendall added that he believes the district will “get a bigger bang for the buck” when the community experiences warmth inside the dome, and when they see the upgrades to Westside following the District’s projects.

Kirkendall moved to put the dome HVAC project out for bid, with Trustee Candita Strong seconding. The motion carried unanimously.

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