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Chill Out! Sickles High School receives a new a/c unit thanks to the half-penny sales tax.

August 15, 2019 - Trending in Schools

You’re looking at time-lapse footage from our friends at Williams Company, when they used a huge crane to fly two chillers into Sickles High School’s chiller yard this summer.

So, what exactly is a chiller?

The purpose of these two chillers is to cool water to a very low temperature. The chilled water is then pumped throughout the campus and feeds into all of the air handler units in each building and acts as the refrigerant to cool the air down. The chilled water runs in a loop and is continually recirculated through the chillers and the air handler units.

Students, staff and teachers can attest that there were a lot of issues with the existing HVAC systems at Sickles that contributed to the school being so hot. Some of the issues were related to the air handlers.  Half of the units in each of the buildings were replaced this summer, as part of phase one, and the remaining half will be replaced next summer.

Good news! Getting the chillers replaced this summer should help the entire campus stay cool—whether the air handlers were replaced or not. Want to take a guess how many pounds each chiller at Sickles High School weighs? At 45 feet long and 8 feet wide and tall, each chiller weighs in at 25,000 lbs.

Sickles Referendum Project

“Replacing the chillers was a really big undertaking for one summer. Partially because of the timeframe it takes to get the chillers made and delivered (9-10 weeks), but also because of the amount of work involved to get all of the existing equipment removed and get all new pipe, power, controls and equipment installed and up and running for the new chillers once they arrive on site,” said Luke Johnson, Senior Project Manager with Williams Company Tampa.

Referendum Results LogoThis air conditioning project at Sickles is one of the first air conditioning overhauls that will be completed over the next ten years, thanks to the education referendum that passed last year. More than 1,700  total projects will take place in our schools for specific projects based on need. Money raised from the half panny sales tax can be used for A/C & maintenance, classroom technology, safety & security and new school construction.

“We are so excited about our air conditioning, my teachers and students were so resilient last year in the face of some sweltering days. It just doesn’t create a good learning environment—as well as our students achieve, I think they’ll do even better in a comfortable environment,” said Principal Mary Frietas, Principal at Sickles High School.

To learn more about how we're fulfilling our #HalfPennyPromise: hillsboroughschools.org/citizenoversight

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