Monday, August 22, 2016
[Yuba County] District acknowledges maintenance problems in A/C outage
The Marysville Joint Unified School District blames a former employee for the air-conditioning failure that left students, teachers and staff sweltering at Lindhurst High School last year.
The district also acknowledged a work order for air-conditioning repairs at Lindhurst was never acted on before the 2015 problems.
MJUSD trustees on Tuesday will consider approving their response to the 2015-16 Yuba County grand jury, which faulted the district in a report released in June. "The board agrees with the finding that the HVAC system at Lindhurst was not properly maintained in the past under the previous department director," the proposed response said.
"According to district staff, the district has not found documentation indicating the existence of a formal preventative maintenance plan for the HVAC system, including chiller water treatment, at Lindhurst High School prior to April of 2015."
HVAC stands for heating, ventilating and air conditioning.
The grand jury cited lack of adequate water treatment and poor maintenance by the district.
Lack of water treatment and maintenance "has led to the water lines becoming corroded and blocked, reducing the efficiency of the system and putting pressure on the central plant," the grand jury said in its report.
Chillers at the school failed prematurely after eight years of operation, "and the grand jury's research showed that, with proper maintenance, they have a life expectancy of around 20 to 30 years," the panel said.
In its proposed response, the district said, "It is likely that the chillers failed prematurely, at least in part, due to improper maintenance."
The response also acknowledged "a lack of water treatment and maintenance likely contributed blockage and corrosion of water lines to the chillers."
In its draft response, the district said it "does not believe that a maintenance log was kept prior" to April 2015.
The district's HVAC technician, who was not named in the response, "was previously informed that the chillers at Lindhurst High School were on a preventative maintenance plan with an outside vendor, American Chiller."
But the district "has been unable to locate documentation of the maintenance work performed by American Chiller or any other outside vendor," the response said.
"When the previous department director left the district, no such documentation was provided to district management," the response said, without naming the former "department director" or explaining why the employee left.
A search of the Maintenance Department failed to find "any of these records that should have been maintained by the previous department director," according to the response.
The district also acknowledged it "failed to act on a work order indicating a problem with the HVAC system at Lindhurst High School under the previous department director" and was unable "to locate a physical copy of this work order as records prior to April of 2015 cannot be located. For unknown reasons, this work order was not acted upon."
Since May 2015 "when new department leadership was brought in ... all documentation and records have been maintained on HVAC systems at Lindhurst High School," according to the response.
The district said it now has a "preventative maintenance plan" for all HVAC units in the district, and "records are now being kept and maintained of all maintenance and repairs performed."
The district has also hired a second HVAC technician "with a certified, journey-level skill set for commercial HVAC units."
August 20, 2016
By Harold Kruger