Northampton County on Tuesday committed $13.5 million to a project that will fix failed HVAC piping at Kiptopeke Elementary School and upgrade lighting, ventilation and weatherproofing at the school and several county buildings.
Supervisors decided to contract with a national firm called ABM that has guaranteed the long-term money saved from its bundled energy solutions will offset the costs of the project components, some of which have become urgent.
Ventilation piping failures at Kiptopeke flooded classrooms and worried Supervisor John Coker, who said waiting on the project wasn’t appropriate because of the hazards to students and staff.
Kiptopeke school will be fixed this summer. Occohannock Elementary, which has similar problems at a less dire stage, will be fixed next summer.
Kiptopeke will be equipped with a geothermal heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, which uses buried pipes and moderate underground temperatures to produce hot or cool air, depending on the need.
In addition to the $10.8 million in repairs and upgrades to Kiptopeke, there will be $2.7 million in energy-efficient upgrades to county buildings including the courthouse.