by Doug McClure
HARDWICK – The Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union (OSSU) has received a $104,905 grant from Efficiency Vermont (EVT) to help with upgrades made for COVID-19 protocols, according to Facilities Director Tod DeLaricheliere.
The grant stipulates that work must be completed by December 30, and includes a number of items, said DeLaricheliere: “A full year of filters (MERV 11 to MERV 13) for the air handling units; HEPA air cleaning units for the Nurses/Isolation rooms; Program controls for HES and Craftsbury Academy; 2 unit ventilators for 2 classrooms at Hazen; TRIO #1000 air cleaners for Minden [Hall] in Craftsbury (also getting monies to cover the ones at Craftsbury Academy).”
He said that the pool of HVAC contractors typically used by the supervisory union is very busy due to the pandemic, therefore as much of the installation as possible will be handled by OSSU and school staff. DeLaricheliere said “It will be close on the deadline, at the mercy of when the purchased equipment and filters will get here. All items are ordered, or will be ordered. EVT is aware of the delays, and as December gets here, we will figure out how to make things work.”
Before the pandemic, plans were underway toward a bond-funded expansion and updates to Hazen Union. Now, that work is on hold “for at least a year,” he said, adding that “putting an added burden on the taxpayers did not seem to be the right thing to do.”
These upgrades were started on before school even opened to try to keep students, faculty, and staff as safe as possible, in close co-ordination with EVT, and are just one aspect of the facility that has seen upgrades for safety.