Ellis: Sumiton Senior Center has ‘serious’ HVAC, water needs

SUMITON – The Sumiton City Council on Tuesday authorized Mayor Petey Ellis to obtain and execute low bids in an urgent action to repair a water leak and long-standing air conditioning and heating problems at the Sumiton Senior Center, which would all come together. can run in costs between $50,000 and $100,000.

The water and air conditioning issues are generally unrelated, said Ellis, who called the overall issues “serious.” Work on all needs is likely to last until the end of the year, he said after the meeting.

While the council struggled with how to word the action in a motion, the city officials seemed to essentially approve emergency repairs to the building.

City Secretary Nina Absher said after the meeting that any part offered under the project would not trigger a more formal bidding process under the state’s bidding process. Ellis said, “There are about four different deals and we will probably end up with over $50,000 and hopefully less than $100,000 before we get through, within the scope of the whole project.”

Councilors Floyd Burton and Bill Fowler did not attend the meeting.

At the meeting, Ellis presented a quote of about $11,000 from Schneider Electric in Pelham to change what officials said was the electronic brain of the HVAC system to overhaul the control system. Another bid is also being secured, he said, adding later that he wished more local bidders could be obtained.

“It just doesn’t work. Sometimes it cools down and sometimes it doesn’t,” Ellis told the council. “It goes from cooling to heating. The lower floor, if I understand correctly, doesn’t work at all.” He said it hasn’t been maintained the way it should have been over the years, and the city hasn’t gotten good feedback on what it should be doing along the way.

“It’s not anyone else’s fault, it’s mine. I’ll have to accept that,” he said.

There was also a recommendation “from the main boiler that we put a water treatment plant on there as it has corroded over the years and needs to be redone,” he said.

“Here we are already at $11,000. I am asking the council to give me the authority to go ahead and make another bid and do the repair there. Of course I would bring it back to the table so we go with that get started and make sure the heating and cooling system is working as it should.”

He said the basement is leaking, but he wasn’t sure if it was a design flaw, as water gets in with the power lines in the line. “It runs through the fuse box and it will create a dangerous situation, if not already,” he said. “So we’re going to have to dig that out.”

City operations manager Tim Diveto said the city can excavate it itself, but anywhere from five to eight pipes runs through the area, criss-crossing each other.

“Our plans, the last time we excavated it, was to open the bottom of the pipe and put a pump in it and make a concrete tank” for the water to run into.

Ellis said the pump is not working because there is water in the bottom of the elevator shaft. Diveto said it needs something outside where water is about to enter the building and then flow it back to a sump. Pipe was yet to be excavated, and concrete has already been poured under the pipe and sloped backwards.

“So we have to dig up the whole garden?” asked Ellis. “That corner over there, over there by the generator,” Diveto said.

Ellis asked Diveto to provide a contractor with a quote for repairs, and the city will dig it out to see where they stand.

“I don’t think this can slow down anymore. I think it’s something that needs to happen,” he said.

“The one control panel that takes all the water will probably need to be replaced,” Diveto said. “That’s about $10,000 on its own,” Ellis said.

Councilor Kenneth Russell advised Diveto to continue excavating the area and he can get quotes for that particular job, as the city is doing with the electrical work.

After the meeting, Ellis said the city had installed a boiler system for the HVAC system. “That building is right on the boundary of the boiler system, or four or five units. In hindsight, I wish we had put in four or five air conditioning units,” he said.

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