We are so excited to learn that we have received a grant to upgrade our HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. Anyone who has been in the Library the past few years knows how antiquated our system is. (See note for how complicated our system really is.) It is rarely comfortable in the Library, and we have even been forced to close on occasion. The City of Natchez owns the building, and their staff has done an admirable job of keeping the system functioning. However, the system needed to be totally upgraded, and the City simply did not have the funds available. Our only hope has been to find a grant. We would like to thank Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development, who were instrumental in obtaining these funds for us, and Adams County, who allowed the grant to be written in their name.
We'll keep you updated on the progress here. Right now, all we know is that we've been awarded the grant. You might want to read the article in the Natchez Democrat.
UPDATE November 2011
Metro Mechanical of Bolton MS was the low bidder. A contract with them has been signed, the parts have been ordered, and work should begin some time this month. It is not anticipated that the Library will need to be closed during construction.
Unfortunately, we did not have sufficient notice that we were eligible for the grant in order to properly estimate the cost of the repairs/replacement of the entire system. The grant award, as it turned out, would only cover the internal repairs. This meant the outside chiller unit could not be addressed. After much discussion, we realized we also needed to focus our attention on the chiller unit, as the best internal system could not work without cool air (especially in Natchez in the summer, as we have all found out!).
The contractor estimated the additional cost, and the Library Board asked the City of Natchez and Adams County to fund this part of the project, and they agreed to do so. Remember that the original grant did not require any matching funds, so this was all they had to pay.
So at this time, we are just waiting for the work to begin. Hopefully, we will begin the new year with a renovated and functioning HVAC system.
UPDATE July 2012
Everything is now complete!
Unfortunately, the library’s HVAC system is very complicated. It was designed to produce both heated and chilled air 24/7 in order to achieve a comfortable mix. The air handler in the attic has two different sets of ducts – one set for heated air and one set for chilled air, going to “mixing boxes” throughout the building. Each room has at least one of these mixing boxes, and some larger areas have several. Each mixing box has both heated air and chilled air ducts coming into I, and is attached to a thermostat, which SHOULD control how much heated or chilled air is allowed into the mixing box to be dispersed into the room.
The library has twenty-seven mixing boxes throughout the building – with twenty-seven thermostats, NONE OF WHICH WORK. So, basically we have no control over whether we have heated or chilled air – when both the inside and outside units are running. And BTW – the controls are inside, as is the furnace – but the chilled air part of the equation is the chilling unit, which is outside.