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Carroll County Times
Carroll County News

After seven decades of waiting, county-owned building in Westminster will install heating and air-conditioning units

After seven decades of waiting, the Carroll County Workforce Development building will soon have a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system installed, thanks to federal coronavirus relief funding.

Carroll County commissioners unanimously approved a $127,230 contract with Henry Adams LLC, of Baltimore for design and engineering services “to meet today’s air quality and energy standards,” according to Thad Highlander, the county’s facilities manager.

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The center, located in the county-owned building at 224 N. Center St., Westminster, is an office of the Carroll County Department of Economic Development. Its key functions are working with local businesses to identify workforce training and hiring needs and helping jobseekers with education, employment, training and support services.

Highlander said the 23,000-square-foot building was constructed in the 1950s. Its cooling needs have been met thus far using 28 residential box window units.

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The design will include three HVAC units, duct sizing, an electrical service upgrade to meet requirements for the new systems, and space alterations, according to county documents. Once the design portion of the project is complete, the county will accept bids for construction.

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The new system will be paid for by the county’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding. The CARES Act, passed by Congress in March 2020, allotted $2.2 trillion in direct economic aid to local governments to assist those negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heather Lee Powell, manager of Carroll County Workforce Development, stated in an email after the meeting that the department is looking forward to installation of the new HVAC system.

“It’s energy efficient and will be a much appreciated improvement to the environment for both our customers and staff,” Powell said. “We will not miss the window AC units next summer.”

During the meeting Commissioner Eric Bouchat, a Republican who represents District 4, said he toured the workforce development building last year and noticed the window units for the first time.

“I had no idea that that facility was still using window units,” Bouchat said. “And the fact that you got on top of this, and addressed this, is important and I appreciate it.”

Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, a Republican representing District 5, said going from window units to a HVAC system would be like “going from 1974 to 2022.”

According to Maureen Dunn, Carroll County’s government procurement officer, the county received five proposals for the HVAC design, with bids ranging from $71,900 to $165,000. An evaluation committee conducted a technical and financial review of the proposals. One reason the county chose Henry Adams, LLC, is the company’s familiarity with Carroll County projects, according to Justin Megonnell, the county’s bureau chief. The company is currently completing work at Carroll County Community College, Megonnell said.


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