Shawnee County to replace Kansas Expocentre HVAC systems at cost of $900,000-plus

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Shawnee County will spend more than $900,000 to replace the system that provides heating, ventilation and air conditioning to the Kansas Expocentre’s Exhibition Hall and Maner Conference Center.

Commissioners Kevin Cook, Shelly Buhler and Bob Archer voted 3-0 Thursday morning to enter into a contract with Central Mechanical Construction Co. to replace Exhibition Hall’s HVAC system at a cost of $649,700 and the conference center’s HVAC system at a cost of $274,200.

Those facilities are currently served by one HVAC system but will be served by two after the project is completed, said county counselor Jim Crowl.

Revenue from a countywide half-cent sales tax will be used to finance HVAC replacement at Exhibition Hall, while money from the county’s 2017 contingency fund will cover the project at the conference center, according to the agenda packet for Thursday’s meeting.

Commission chairman Cook said the HVAC system that serves Exhibition Hall and the conference center currently is operating at between one-third and one-half of its capacity, with that being an “urgent concern” considering the number of upcoming events booked for those facilities.

Crowl said Central Mechanical submitted the lowest, most responsive bid after the county sought proposals from companies interested in carrying out the project.

Also on Thursday, commissioners held a work session following their regular meeting to discuss how part of $6 million in excess reserve funds might be used to carry out projects at the Expocentre.

Commissioners voted Feb. 1 to set aside the $6 million to carry out projects at the Expocentre and in the county’s parks and recreation department, but didn’t reach agreement on how much to allot to each.

Commissioners at Thursday’s work session took no action while discussing potential uses for some of that money at the Expocentre. They plan Monday to do the same regarding the parks and recreation department. The commission tentatively plans April 19 to consider deciding how the $6 million will be spent.

In other business, commissioners:

• Voted 3-0 to approve a $400,000 project budget to carry out road repairs on S.W. 77th Street west of US-75 highway, with the project being financed using money from the county’s special highway fund.

• Voted 3-0 to authorize the sale at public auction of 14 lots of surplus real estate the county owns in the vicinity of the Willard Bridge.

• Met behind closed doors in executive session to receive legal advice regarding programming at the Expocentre.

• Heard Expocentre general manager Kellen Seitz say additional seating had been made available to ensure all potential customers could buy tickets to Saturday’s concert featuring the bands Skillet and For King and Country at the Expocentre’s Landon Arena.

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