Sweaty pipes force expensive emergency repairs at North Allegheny elementary school
The North Allegheny School Board on Wednesday unanimously approved a nearly $450,000 contract for emergency repairs to the cooling system at Hosack Elementary School in McCandless.
The $448,210 contract was awarded to George V. Hamilton Inc. of McKees Rocks, which was the only company to submit a bid for the work from a pool of seven companies that were contacted by the district, said Rob Gaertner, the district’s director of project management.
“Several (companies) said they did not have the manpower to take on this work at this time,” Gaertner said, adding that the state Department of Education allowed the district to seek bids without the required public advertising because of the emergency nature of the project.
Gaertner said the problem was discovered while looking for the source of stains that appeared on the building’s ceiling tiles.
“Upon further investigation we found that the chilled water pipe insulation was failing and causing condensation to occur on the exterior of the pipes that was dripping on the tile,” he told the school board during its Aug. 21 meeting.
The project involves removal and disposal of the old ceiling tile and insulation throughout the first floor and in part of the second floor; installing new pipe hangers to accommodate thicker, more robust insulation; and installing new tiles.
A series of air quality tests are being conducted during the project to ensure that no mold is present as a result of the insulation failure, said Roger Sechler, the district’s director of operations.
“The air quality in the building was never a danger,” he said. “If we let it go it can become bad, but we caught it.”
Sechler said portable air conditioning units will be placed in the building to remove moisture and provide cooling until the project is completed and the main cooling system can be turned on. The work is expected to take several weeks to complete.
District students are scheduled to return to classes on Aug. 27.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .