Dorothy McCarty from Cotter Consulting, which is our owner’s representative for referendum projects, has been working with us to determine what we can do from a facilities/HVAC standpoint to help keep our students and staff safe. She told us that any proposed changes we consider need to take into account:
- Life safety - maintain fire separations, proper egress, integrity of fire alarm and fire suppression systems; use of appropriate materials.
- Building systems - evaluate opportunities to enhance ventilation and air quality without triggering undesirable results.
She shared how unit ventilators can serve individual classrooms (i.e., the air in a classroom only remains in/recycles through that room; it does not travel to other rooms in the building), how opening windows and doors to let in fresh air can actually have negative/adverse effects (e.g., mold growth, dust, pollen and allergens) and what measures can be taken to improve air quality (e.g., increase the intervals of filter changes, maintain building on “occupied” mode for longer periods of time, confirm minimum outdoor air damper settings, etc.).
We will continue to work with Ms. McCarty to investigate the potential solutions she shared.