The city plans to remove the boiler that blew up last month – as well as its aging twin – and to replace them with a high-efficiency burner that should cost considerably less to operate.
Public Works Director Walter Veselka said Thursday that natural gas would fuel the new burner rather than heating oil.
Officials plan to hire a design engineer in May and to bid out the project in July, with the goal of having the new heating system in place before winter.
Just in case, though, part of the deal will be to work out an alternative source of heat if the new system isn’t quite ready, Veselka said.
Mayor Art Ward said the city will be better off with a heating system that won’t break down and burns more efficiently. He said it’s possible that federal stimulus money may be available to pay for some of it.
Though officials have long eyed the possibility of replacing the aging boilers, they had put it off because of the expense.
But on March 20, one of the two heating boilers blew up, sending smoke and asbestos fibers through the ducts and knocking the door off the ground floor mechanical room.
City Hall itself had to be closed for a day, but since it happened over a weekend, it didn’t matter much.
The mechanical room remains sealed off as contractors continue to remove the asbestos.
Veselka said a request for engineering services has been published and a contract may be approved as soon as May’s City Council session.
The Building Committee plans to meet at 5 p.m., Monday, May 11 to endorse a contractor to the council the following day.
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