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The heat is on

New boilers on-line for Luverne school construction project
Lead Summary
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Mavis Fodness

Students and staff at Luverne Middle-High School are enjoying better learning conditions after new boilers came online Monday.
They haven’t had air conditioning or heat since classes started Sept. 16 because of the school construction project that included updating the 1960s boiler system.
“The staff and students have been patient and resilient to any distractions from construction,” said Superintendent Craig Oftedahl.
District text messages reminded staff and students to dress appropriately for the potential temperature fluctuations in the building.
The west side of the building remains open to the elements after demolition made way for a new commons and performing arts center between the middle-high school and the elementary school.
Temperatures in September averaged 66 degrees, but they fluctuated widely between 80-degree warm spells and 40-degree cold stretches.
Humidity condensed on desks and chairs, which needed to be wiped off with towels before use.
“It made you a little uncomfortable but that was better than being cold,” said senior Gabbie Miller.
October high temperatures were in the 40s.
“I just wore my winter coat all day,” she said. “A lot of kids complained it was cold — they weren’t dressing the way you should.”
The renovated areas are keeping the spirits up for staff and students.
“The new choir room is nice,” Miller said. “It (the completed hallway) looks nice going to the art room.”
Eight renovated classrooms, including the chemistry lab, are expected to be in use by the end of the month.
Originally the classrooms were expected to be finished before school started.
“This should really help with some space issues and give us some flexibility with other transitions in the building,” Oftedahl said.
Renovations are 25 to 30 percent finished since work began March 5, with $8 million of the $30 million project spent so far.
“We have knocked out some big items with heating systems and lots of not seen infrastructure such as pipes, sprinkling systems and data,” Oftedahl said. “This should help speed up the next few phases of work.”
Construction at the school will continue into 2021.

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