Thornhill Elementary School will have individually heated classrooms and separate gym heating after this year’s upgrade.

Thornhill Elementary upgrades heat system

The Coast Mountain School District has plans to individually heat each room in the school, near Terrace, BC

The Coast Mountains School District is doing a $850,000-ventilation upgrade at Thornhill Elementary School, thanks to recent government funding.

Starting in August, the work is part of a larger heating system project to improve energy efficiency at the school — a project that started last year with replacing the boiler plant.

“We expect 20 per cent reduction in utility costs,” said school district director of facilities Travis Elwood.

Over the last five years the average utility cost at the school has been $37,000 per year and last year it was over $40,000, he said.

But more importantly the upgrade will replace the heating system that is at the end of its life, and it will provide a better classroom environment by filtering the air, controlling the carbon dioxide levels, and regulating the temperature in each classroom individually.

Currently in the process of hiring contractors, the school district plans to put in self-contained classroom ventilators to replace old electric fan coils. They are also installing a new heating system in the gym with a special drive so that the temperature in the gym can be controlled separately.

They are also finalizing the control system upgrade, installing a digital system with an automated schedule for when the boiler will operate each day.

Full costs for the project are paid by the B.C. government’s $45-million ‘fix-it fund,’ being used for 80 different school repair projects across the province. Announced May 19, the fund more than doubled from last year and projects must be finished by the end of March 2017, when the next B.C. election campaign is getting underway.