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North Crawford to replace aging chiller
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The North Crawford Schools air-conditioning system will get a major upgrade following school board action last Thursday.

The board chose the lowest bid of  $116,400 from the Trane Company for a new chiller to replace the school building’s aging unit. The chiller selected also qualified for a $10,000 Focus on Energy grant because of its efficiency.

The two rejected bids from Carrier and McQuay were more expensive and would have only received $5,000 Focus on Energy grant because they wouldn’t achieve the efficiency of the Trane unit.

WHV, the firm hired to install the unit, liked the Trane unit better, but would install any unit the school district selected, North Crawford Schools Director of Maintenance Harry Heisz told the board. Heisz pointed out that obtaining parts in the future from the LaCrosse manufacturer might be another advantage of the Trane bid.

The new chiller will handle the cooling needs of the entire building. A separate air conditioning unit had been used for the district offices and some other parts of the building. It will be removed from the roof and the new unit will supply air conditioning for the space it previously cooled.

The removed units will be made available for bids from local scrap dealers, Heisz told the board.

Miguel Morga, the school board’s vice president, asked that the administration look into financing the purchase at the current low interest rates to preserve the district’s cash flow position. District Administrator Dr. Dan Davies said he would report back to the board with financing options.

The board also agreed to participate in a food service purchasing co-operative with other schools from the area. As envisioned, the CESA 2 & 3 Cooperative Food Services Purchasing Agreement would create $13 million in purchasing power for food.

As part of the agreement, the district agreed to purchase 80 percent of their food service supplies. In addition to food service supplies, the cooperative also plans on offering janitorial supplies. The potential of being forced to order 80 percent of janitorial supplies from the co-op alarmed Heisz, who has spent years developing a line of supplies and suppliers for the district. Upon a closer reading of the proposal, it was decided the 80 percent requirement would apply only to food service products and not the janitorial supplies.

Purchasing through the cooperative might reduce the district’s food service bills by up to 25 percent, Davies told the board. He also noted that the North Crawford Food Service Director favored joining the cooperative as an attempt at cost savings.

The board approved authorizing the district to join the food purchasing cooperative for one year. The agreement will be evaluated after one year’s participation.

In other business, the North Crawford School Board:

• authorized contracting with Vernon Memorial Health Care to provide athletic training services currently provided by Gundersen Lutheran

• approved the purchase of a scoreboard from a Milwaukee-area manufacturer for the softball field at a cost of $3,000 to be repaid in full by fundraising efforts

• moved all money in Fund 73’s cash account to a mutual fund in an attempt to get higher returns

• approved hiring  an aide position for the joint role of working the cafeteria during lunches and working in the early childhood program

 • approved a contract with Renee Salmon and Becky Ruff to continue providing speech therapy service to the district

• agreed to try an automatic timing system at a spring track meet at the cost of $700, hoping to speed up the event and save the district money in wages to staff at the meet.