AC problems put prison in the summer blues | New

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At the Daviess County Security Center, it’s the long hot summer. The prison is approaching its 20th year of operation and many systems and equipment installed during construction wear out and fail.

“For a while the temperatures were so hot on the second floor that those of us who had offices there stopped wearing our vests inside,” Daviess County Sheriff Gary Allison said. “The air conditioning system sometimes only worked at 50% efficiency. “

Officers say the discomfort was much worse when temperatures hit 90 degrees. This week’s cooler temperatures helped reduce the heat in the building.

“We had a few compressors in our air conditioning units repaired,” Allison said. “That and the more moderate temperatures helped immensely.”

The county is now in the process of replacing all 10 rooftop air handling units. Offers have been received on the project ranging from $ 550,000 to $ 850,000.

“We analyze them and try to determine what is the best deal for us,” Allison said.

The best deals aren’t always the cheapest. The county is looking to assess the reliability of equipment and access to repairs. With the new system set to replace the 20-year-old one, the county will also look at energy savings.

“There should be energy savings there,” Allison said. “When you talk about so much money, I don’t know what the return on your investment will be. This is something that we will have to consider with the offers.

One thing the county hopes to save is the money that has been invested in maintenance in recent years.

“These units have been in place since 2004, so they’re coming to the end of their life,” said Allison. “We spend $ 50,000 a year on their maintenance now. Hopefully with the new units the maintenance and energy costs will go down.

The biggest problem with air conditioning replacement is the time it will take to get everything done. The project is expected to run for several months and may not be completed until November.

“It will take a few months to put everything in place,” Allison said. “It will probably be October or November before everything is installed. It will be a long and hot summer.

Officials point out that the prison is one of the few facilities that is used 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This has resulted in the emergence of additional issues as the building ages. The county will also replace the roof over the office area. The shingled roof will be replaced with a metal roof from DC Metals for $ 115,000.

“This metal roof is expected to last 50 years,” Allison said. “It’s much longer than a traditional roof. It also has the ability to add a bit more insulation and that should help us save money on energy.

The problems the prison faces with equipment failures are not limited to these things on the outside.

“We had to replace two washing machines,” Allison said. “They were in place since we opened, then they stopped working. “

Asked about the condition of the dryers.

“They are still working,” he said. “But the day is not over.”

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