Geothermal system for HVAC not an affordable option for Ottawa Lincoln Elementary School

District hopes to supply window air-conditioning units by next year

Lincoln Elementary School in Ottawa

Switching to a geothermal system to get air conditioning at Lincoln Elementary School in Ottawa will not be an option.

Superintendent Michelle Lee told the Ottawa Elementary School Board on Tuesday the district would have to fully borrow the amount to make it happen, as there aren’t any grant opportunities to aid the process.

“We have $12,233,176 in bonding capacity,” Lee said. “The reasons we don’t want to fully bound out, as Kevin Hyde went over with me, if there’s an emergency, you won’t have any money to do anything. The tax rate will go up. Home taxes would go up. They would be maxed out. It’s like your own credit limit. You never want to be without credit.”

Board President Brenden Donahue said the district does not have the $10 to $12 million to make this happen, unless someone comes along and says “here’s $12 million.”

“The problem that I face is I feel like we’re not making progress for the staff,” Donahue said. “Today we see what happens. We haven’t made progress and we had to have a half day. No one thought it would be 90-plus degrees near the end of September but it is what it is.”

Discussion about using window units as a temporary solution followed, with Donahue asking for a deadline for when the board needs to act to make that happen.

The hope is Lincoln Elementary will have window air conditioning units in the classroom by next year.