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2020 Indoor Air Quality Project

Here at the New York Mills School, we know that a healthy environment is key to educational success. We want our classrooms to be safe and clean, as well as maintained a comfortable room temperature.


To help keep the facility clean, the school has an exceptional maintenance department to complete everyday projects. Each summer, for example, a cleaning crew scrubs every classroom from top to bottom. Small maintenance projects both in the building and on the school grounds are also completed annually. Even our school bus fleet is thoroughly inspected so we can ensure that students will have a safe ride to and from school. 


Besides the annual list of cleaning and maintenance projects, the school board also keeps a priority list of more substantial projects. This list includes everything from remodeling projects to replacing windows. The list is such that the school board continually adds and removes items. Following the summer of 2018, for example, the school board was able to check off replacing the roof and parking lot.  These two priorities were beyond yearly maintenance repair.  


Although the school board would love to do everything on the list, they realize the need to prioritize projects based on many factors. The next large project on the school board’s priority list is addressing the 1953 boiler plant and indoor air quality needs. Throughout the last six months, the school board members have had several meetings to discuss the potential scope of work, timeline and financial solutions to address this need.   


At this point in the planning process, the board is looking for staff and community feedback. A staff meeting was held on Wednesday, June 5 and there were two community meetings offered in June. Depending on community and staff comments, the board will make a final decision on the project at the July School Board Meeting. 


Scope of Work

The district facility is made up of many different building ages. Currently, the majority of the facility is heated by two steam boilers that were installed when the original building was constructed in 1953. Original heating and ventilation equipment is being used throughout the facility which was installed between 1953-1993. This equipment is either reaching or has reached its life expectancy, is inefficient, costly to repair, hard to control and does not meet today’s standards for ventilation rates required by code.  


The proposed project would consist of replacing the existing steam boilers with new high efficiency hot water boilers, pumps, hot water piping, and controls. New air handling units would be installed throughout the facility, except in the 2000 addition. New air handling units would provide heat, air conditioning and code compliant ventilation rates. These new air handling units would be controlled by a new digital control system in lieu of the existing pneumatic controls.  Due to the nature of work, the areas of construction would also get new ceilings, new lights, zoned temperature control and various interior finish upgrades as needed.    

Benefits of the indoor air quality project 


Replacing the facilities boiler plant and ventilation system will have many benefits. The maintenance on the new boiler system will be easier, more efficient and less costly. The current 1953 boiler system has many parts that are corroding and require continual replacement and maintenance to keep the boilers operating. Updating the boiler system will decrease the amount of maintenance hours and increase the boiler efficiency.  


Another benefit of this project is increased student achievement--a benefit that is not often thought of in conjunction with heating and air ventilation. However, national studies throughout the last decade showcase how environmental factors affect student achievement. The results of one such study has been highlighted on the Environmental Protection Agency website. Studies have found that children in well ventilated classrooms are able to concentrate more easily and thus able to work more quickly. In fact, studies have directly tied increased standardized test scores to controlled indoor temperatures and air ventilation.


With the new modern heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, it made sense to provide air conditioning throughout the facility.  The newest portion of the facility, 2000 wing, is currently being air conditioned and with these improvements, the entire facility will have air conditioning.  Air conditioning will not only provide a more comfortable learning environment for students and staff but also preserve the interior finishes, reduce maintenance time and reduce the possibility of mold growth by reducing the humidity within the facility. 


Cost of the project


The cost of the project is around $11 million, some of which would be paid through taxpayer bonds. A $125,000 residential property would see an increase of $112 per year or $9 per month to their property taxes, while a $100,000 commercial property would pay $169 per year. The bond would be payable over 16 years. 



The timeline for this project is as follows: 

July 22, 2019 at 4 p.m.: School Board Meeting where the board will make a final decision

August-December 2019: Project Design

December 2019-January 2020: Bidding Process

May 2020: Start Construction


More Information

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the district needs and proposed improvements please contact Blaine Novak, Superintendent at the District Office, 218-385-4201 or