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Troup County weighing decision on dehumidifier in the Mike Daniel Recreation Center Natatorium

By Alicia B. Hill
Daily-News

On Thursday, the Troup County Board of Commissioners discussed options for replacing the 15-year-old dehumidifier in the Mike Daniel Recreation Center Natatorium. The discussion was made especially urgent by the coming summer months.

The county received three bids for the humidifier and a heating and air conditioning unit for the locker rooms, but the conversation centered heavily on proposals from United Maintenance from Atlanta and Jackson Mechanical from LaGrange, whose plans were closest to meeting the county’s requirements. With a price tag $62,612 lower, staff recommendations heavily favored United Maintenance for the project.

“One of the other nice things about going with United Maintenance and the chiller system is anybody can work on it,” said Troup County Parks and Recreation Endowment Facilities Manager JJ Kuerzi. “Every part that is needed for it can be purchased here in town. … The great thing about this system is Jackson [Mechanical], Airforce, whomever that is local can service this, work on this and get parts to it easily where we are not waiting for a month for it to come out of Canada.”

The Mike Daniel natatorium does not currently have a working dehumidifier in the natatorium entering the summer months, so it was important for the work to get done quickly.

“Back in January, the unit completely died, so what we have been doing is we have opened the main purge ventilation system on the roof,” Kuerzi said. “Jackson Heating and Air was kind to come over and re-tweak that so that it is open consistently, as well as we have fans moving air throughout the natatorium area to keep circulation. This weather has helped.”

Jackson Mechanical would require 18 to 20 weeks of lead time to build a new unit. United Maintenance committed to having the equipment ready in 10 to 12 weeks.

“The sooner we can get this thing in the better because as we are waiting, we are just rusting away the building,” Kuerzi said. “I’m doing everything I can to keep doors closed and air moving, but the chlorine and the humidity will kill that building.”

According to Kuerzi, the average lifespan of the unit that has been in use in the Mike Daniel natatorium is eight years. The unit has been in use for 15 years, and as of Jan. 15, it was no longer functional. The dehumidifier from United Maintenance would have a projected lifespan of 20 to 25 years.

The council budgeted the dehumidifier as a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax expenditure, and the county has been in the process of soliciting and considering bids since the unit went down.

“This is a SPLOST V bonded project, and so we do have money in hand to do the upgrades,” County Manager Eric Mosley said. “If you’ve been in there, you’ve seen some of the rust on the metal beams. That is because of the chlorine. That is something that we know is going to have to be done. We know that there is some needed work also in the locker rooms.”

The county brought in local experts who recommended United Maintenance, and Kuerzi said that she recommended United Maintenance as well.

“We were limited to two people I believe in the state of Georgia that could work on [the previous] system,” Public Services Director Dexter Wells said. “That makes it very difficult when it comes out of warranty when you are limited to who can work on it, and trying to get them down when they have things going on where it does not cause damage to the building. That is a big issue and something that I know is very important to the rec department.”

A vote is expected Tuesday on which bid the commission will select.

Other items covered during the Troup County Board of Commissioners work session included:

  • The board of commissioners approved a request to lift the hiring freeze to hire a shop mechanic position. The position was in the budget.
  • The commission heard a request to approve a Limited English Proficiency Policy, which would formally state existing accommodations for non-English speakers, provide clarification for department heads on the county policy and make the county eligible for federal grants. The accommodations are required under Title 6, and the policy is required by executive order, according to Troup County Human Resources Director Valerie Heard.
  • The commission received its third-quarter financial update, which showed that the county is on track financially.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners will meet again on Tuesday at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Avenue.