Free school boiler coming

A chance for the Warren County School District to receive a free boiler as part of a product test has come to fruition.

The school district’s board of directors approved an agreement with Laars Heating Co., pending solicitor review, during its meeting on Monday night.

WCSD Director of Buildings and Grounds Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht brought the concept to committee meetings in December, indicating that the company has developed a new, high-efficiency boiler it would like the district to test.

“There were a couple of snags of how do we do it and still be in compliance with board policy and state procurement code,” he said on Monday. “Those objectives have been met and the deal is still on the table.”

The manufacturer has agreed to donate the boiler under the condition that it can retrieve data from the unit during the beta phase. Once the model is ready for full production, the district would receive one at no cost.

The district is on the hook for installation costs, but Kennerknecht said the value of the boiler to the district, which will be installed at the Warren County Career Center, is $55,780.

Kennerknecht said the arrangement puts the school district “in on kind of the ground floor of a new technology.”

The beta boiler could potentially be a secondary backup option or the primary option based on how well it functions.

Kennerknecht noted that the model is currently approaching the end of the initial testing period, and he said the company has made some modifications. “(They) think they have a pretty good product and we are in line to receive one,” he added.

Board President Arthur Stewart asked, if the boiler was not to function “as we hope it does,” whether the other two boilers are capable of providing adequate heat through the testing year the district is committing to as part of the agreement.

Kennerknecht said that he believed it would and that the “agreement said if something malfunctions, they will reinstall a new one.”