Chicopee Public Schools Maintenance Director Scott Chapdelaine provided updates on current HVAC projects in the district.
Reminder Publishing screen capture by Tyler Garnet

CHICOPEE — During the School Committee meeting on May 15, Chicopee Public Schools Maintenance Director Scott Chapdelaine provided updates on HVAC projects.

Chapdelaine recently met with the committee in September 2023 and wanted to provide further updates to those projects.

In 2019, Chicopee Schools had a $3.8 million bond and $600,000 set aside to air condition nine schools because only six schools had air conditioning in all the classrooms.

Chapdelaine explained why the project has taken almost four years.

He said, “We started that project in July 2019. We made some headway and then [the coronavirus pandemic] hit so we did a two-year gap. We did pretty much nothing for 24 months in classrooms for air conditioning.”

When Superintendent Marcus Ware started, he and Chapdelaine sat down and came up with a plan and a date of April 28 to get three more schools online.

“As of April 28, we finished Barry, Fairview and Stefanik. Right now we have seven out of the nine schools done since 2019. We have two more schools to do,” Chapdelaine added.

The projects are being completed with the in-house staff but Chapdelaine added they did subcontract some of the work to speed up the process and plan on doing more of that in the future.

Right now, Litwin Elementary School is slated for May 28 and Chapdelaine has worked with Principal Elizabeth Masse on a schedule to get the work done during the day.

He added, “That’s the big thing, getting this work with our staff done during the day not to disrupt the entire building.”

Chicopee Public Schools looked outside to do the work at Bellamy Middle School and had a consulting company come up with a price to complete the work. The estimate was $5.2 million.

Chapdelaine said they looked for funding but added, “we didn’t have it at the time. Since we were making such headway at the other schools we’re doing now, we’re thinking Litwin [Elementary] probably will be, we’re going to push to get it done by the time gets school into session by the end of August. Our goal is to get it done by then and in the meantime, we are going to look at other avenues for Bellamy.”

Right now, out of the $600,000 set aside for the in-house staff to complete the projects, only $425,000 of it has been spent with seven schools completed.

Chapdelaine said, “You can see how much in-house staff and you know we have a great team; they all work together, they really are the all-stars in getting this project on the allotted time that we set. I am very proud the staff we have, they’re hard workers.”

In September, Chapdelaine also discussed an 11-school project that included going out to bid for adding air conditioning in cafeterias and gymnasiums in each school.

He provided an update and said, “We did all the leg work on that, we went out to bid and no contractors put in for project. I think the main problem was it was basically 11 schools so it was 11 projects that were going on and not one contractor put in for the bids.”

This led to Chapdelaine and his team breaking down the scope and included the schools that will not have air conditioning, which is Bellamy and Litwin.

He added, “At that time we knew we were going to hit the goal for our April deadline so we are pushing to do at least the cafeterias and gymnasiums at Litwin and Bellamy so they would have areas to go to receive air conditioning in the building.”

After going through the bid process again, one contractor offered a bid but since the contract was combined together, the limit was past the contractors Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance rating.
The contractor could only do $3.4 million of work and the project was $4 million of work.

Litwin and Bellamy have been separated into two separate projects and Chapdelaine said he will soon have more information after the contract opens on May 22.