City hall to get HVAC upgrade

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Construction crews remove old air handler units from city hall in Alpena Tuesday. A large hole needed to be cut into the roof in order to remove the old equipment and install the new.

ALPENA — After the sale of the former civic center and Department of Public Works properties, the City of Alpena put the money into a fund that can be used for improvements to city-owned facilities.

The Public Safety Building had extensive work done and now an HVAC project is taking place at city hall. Once finished it will help climate control in the building, as well as help lower utility expenses.

Building Inspector Mike Kieliszewski said the boilers already have been replaced, and on Tuesday a large crane removed an air handler unit so large a portion of the roof of city hall needed to be cut to get it out and install the new one.

“The air handler is probably 40 years old or older and it is the biggest key component of the HVAC system and it needed to be replaced, as well as the two air conditioning units outside,” Kieliszewski said. “We are also getting a new control system which is going to help me regulate things even when I’m not in the building.”

Kieliszewski said the new control system will monitor and control HVAC systems at other city facilities and allows him to customize when to turn the heat or air conditioning on and for how long. He said that will lead to cost savings for each building and a better comfort level in city hall.

“We’ll be able to better monitor what is going on and if I’m on vacation I’ll be able to check in or receive alerts via text or email if there is an issue,” he said. “We’re trying to bring everything into one controlled system so we can see what is going on and what action might need to be taken.”

The cost of the project is $170,000, but Kieliszewski said cost savings should be realized as soon as the system is in place and programmed. He said there likely will need to be tweaks made until the details are homed in on.

As far as the hole in the roof goes, Kieliszewski said after the repairs are made, most people won’t even notice where the hole was. He said about 10 years ago the city redid the roof so it resembled the original, but modern materials were used that will last longer and are more resistant to weather in Northeast Michigan.

“It is very easy to remove and replace, so the work won’t be that bad,” he said.

Kieliszewski said these projects needed to be delayed for years because the budget wasn’t solid enough to pay for the expensive work. He said the sale of the properties made the improvements possible, but now the fund is almost extinguished.

“We have been chipping away at these buildings and the engineering department has been great in helping us find the extra funds we needed by delaying some of its own projects,” Kieliszewski said. “The prior work absorbed much of the money we had set aside. We had about $93,000 left in the fund and we were able to put off a few things to get this done.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.