NORTH SACRAMENTO – In April, Twins Rivers Unified School District unveiled an aggressive plan for installing HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) units in two schools—Grant Union High School and Harmon Johnson Elementary. The new five-month effort was launched as a campaign called “Feel the Difference: Creating a New Climate in Our Classroom.” Today, a 75-ton crane began the heavy work of lifting aging HVAC units from the roof at Grant High.
“We understand the community’s frustration in the past with delays in getting this important project off the ground,” says TRUSD Superintendent Dr. Steven Martinez. “We now have the administrative team working in close collaboration so that every phase of this installation will hit its marks and stay on schedule. We have made a commitment to our community, parents, staff and students and it’s one we are determined to keep. When schools reopen at the end of summer break, our students, staff, and parents will be able to feel the difference.”
The massive installation project is being coordinated by a District HVAC Task Force chaired by Dr. Martinez. The team is comprised of the two school principals and representatives from all various departments including facilities, maintenance, contracts, business, human resources, and communications. The group has been meeting twice a month to monitor progress, share details, and identify potential delays that can be averted.
While classes were still in session, non-intrusive work was done at both school sites.
This included inspecting units that have been in storage and doing site preparation such as trenching, laying pipe, electrical work, and preparing the foundations for installing the 71 HVAC units (37 at Grant and 34 at Johnson). These TRANE HVAC ultra-high efficiency and high efficiency split system units range in size and capacity from 4 tons to over 17.5 tons. Both schools are more than six decades old and the district has been working hard to maintain the HVAC units over the years. These new units are replacing worn out HVAC units that could no longer be repaired, in some cases because parts were no longer available.
The total cost of the installation is pegged at $7.6 million, with $4.2 million allocated to Grant High School and
$3.4 million to Johnson Elementary. The District is using deferred maintenance funds to cover the cost of the installation. This HVAC project is part of an overall upgrading process being implemented by the district including painting, repairs and refurbishing at most schools.
“Maintaining a safe, healthy learning environment in our schools is a very high priority for Twin Rivers. We know that the climate in the classroom can have a real impact on the peak performance of both teachers and students,” says Martinez. “The only sweat we should see on our students is when they’re working hard to ace a test or complete a homework assignment, not because they’re in a classroom where the air conditioning doesn’t work. This is an important step in changing the overall climate in our schools.”