By Anna Lothson
Following a preliminary agreement approved in March, the village board finalized the steps at its meeting Monday to bring a geothermal HVAC system to village hall's council chambers.
The initial $82,000 approved in March for a geothermal well field was just part of the overall project. A contract with DeKalb Mechanical to install the entire geothermal system was approved Monday in an amount not to exceed $288,000.
The original amount budgeted for the project was $215,000 for a system that would include a highly visible box-like structure in the plaza beneath the council chambers. It was decided however, that such a visible structure might not fit with the architectural integrity of the building. The board recommended to staff that it look at pushing that structure largely below grade and into an existing mechanical room.
The structure will be an 18-by-10-foot unit that will stick about a foot above ground. Because of the age of the current system, which is around 40 years old and original to the building, it was recommended by staff to move forward with the project.
John Wielebnicki, Oak Park's public works director, said leaking pipes underneath the plaza have already shifted some brick work, but the new system will address those issues. Existing air quality in the council chambers and water infiltration issues were other reasons named as to why the project shouldn't be delayed.
The village was eligible for grant funding because of the building's historical designation, which will cover roughly $72,300 of the costs.
The project is expected to be completed in August when the board takes its recess. The work is expected to take around four to five weeks.
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