Fremont School District Modernizes 60-Year-Old Elementary School

Florence Elementary School, courtesy of McKinstry.

Fremont RE-2 School District, a growing K-12 district that serves over 1,400 students in six communities, has taken steps to update and transform its 60-year-old elementary school to provide improved learning environments while maintaining its storied, historical presence in the community. The school district has partnered with McKinstry, a national construction and energy services firm with a regional office in Colorado, to install a full HVAC and ventilation system, a feature not currently part of the building, the district has secured the school’s service to the community for years to come.

Fremont Elementary School, constructed in 1963 and heavily utilized by community and youth programs and local club sports, currently lacks a ventilation system. The district has supported classroom airflow in recent years with portable units and operable windows, however leadership recognized and pursued an opportunity to transform the historic building without having to ask taxpayers for additional funding.

McKinstry will address many building needs including installation of individual vertical unit ventilators in all classrooms and offices, ductwork and piping, a circulation pump and building controls, which will be integrated with the HVAC system, offering control and monitoring of all units.

“McKinstry is committed to helping our K-12 partners across Colorado identify opportunities to modernize their facilities while simultaneously making them more sustainable,” said Leslie Larocque, McKinstry’s vice president of sales and marketing for energy and technical Services. “Together we are engineering solutions that allow communities to offer the best educational environment possible, and to improve energy efficiency with zero cost burden for taxpayers.”

To provide a full HVAC and system installation and upgrade the well-lived-in building, the board unanimously approved the project in mid-June and the district secured a $3.8 million Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant and $1.6 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II funds. By combining those financial awards with $1.5 million in capital improvement funds from the district budget, the project will be completed without asking to raise taxes.

The new systems and equipment will achieve significant improvement in the amount of outdoor air being brought into each classroom and allow the district to track and monitor air flow and ventilation and schedule equipment to run specific hours for improved student, staff and visitor health, safety and comfort.

By taking the initiative to pursue this opportunity, the district is providing a healthy and safe learning environment for students and staff for years to come, while honoring the history of their community and preserving district assets. By pursuing unique funding opportunities, the district has ensured good stewardship of public funds and that more dollars go directly into the classroom to enhance learning.

Fremont Elementary School was constructed with a mid-century modern composition and is structurally in good shape, and over its life the building has been very well maintained. For over 15 years, district facilities leadership has worked on an extensive program to maintain current facilities and extend their useful life to prevent full building level replacements.

The work on this project began this summer and will continue in the spring and summer of 2023 and is scheduled to be completed in fall 2023.

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