Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | May 23, 2017

Upgrades at Pence

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Feb 24, 2017
Photo by: Andy Hallman/Ledger photo Pence Elementary School will receive new lockers this summer. School facilities director Jeff Koontz said the current lockers are as old as the building itself, 63 years, and were designed for middle school students. Koontz said some students cannot reach the top of the current lockers, which is why the district ordered shorter ones.

Pence Elementary School is in store for more changes beside a grade realignment.

The Fairfield School District Board of Directors voted Monday to reorganize the elementary schools next year along a grade alike format. Preschool through first will go to Washington Elementary School and second through fourth grade will go to Pence.

Not only will Pence welcome new faces through its doors next fall, it will show those faces a very different building. Fairfield school facilities director Jeff Koontz said Pence will undergo changes both cosmetic and structural.

The most obvious change to the students will be new lockers, which will cost about $37,000. Koontz said the current lockers are as old as the building itself, dating back to 1954.

Pence was designed to be a middle school, though it was converted to an elementary school less than a decade after it opened and has stayed that way ever since. Consequently, the lockers are too tall for the students who use them now.

“The new lockers will be shorter so the students can hang their coats on them,” Koontz said.

The school is due to receive a new heating, ventilation and cooling system over the summer, too. The current system is, once again, original to the school. Koontz said Pence is heated by a boiler, which is inefficient and hard to regulate.

The new HVAC system will rely on geothermal energy for air conditioning. Geothermal systems use the heat stored several feet below the earth’s surface to both heat and cool buildings, since the temperature about 6 feet below the surface is constant year-round.

The school will receive new an electrical upgrade with new LED lights. Koontz said the lighting will be brighter and more efficient, and should save the district money in energy costs.

The lighting, HVAC and geothermal upgrades are expected to cost about $3.2 million.

About one-quarter of Pence’s roof will be replaced during the summer as well. Koontz said the north section is leaking and needs to be replaced. He said it would cost about $200,000.

Koontz said he will bring a proposal to the school board next month to replace the gym floor at Pence, too.

“It’s the original wood floor, and a lot of boards are cracking and getting holes in them,” he said. “It’s getting spongy in spots. We’d like to replace it with a multi-purpose floor like the one at the Cambridge SportsPlex.”

Koontz will request the board to send out bids for a multi-purpose floor, which he expects to cost about $50,000.

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