Irving Elementary School in Winfield will get a new HVAC system this year after all, though it will not be ready for the start of school in August.

The current system, which is almost 30 years old, will have to last 30 to 45 days more, USD 465 Operations Director Kent Tamsen said.

“We’re planning on it not failing,” he said.

The Winfield board of education approved the plan at their Monday night meeting.

Tamsen expects the installation date to be mid-October, since the students will be out of school Oct. 14 and 15 because teachers first have a report and record day followed by a professional development day.

“We should be able to install the new system in those two days,” Tamsen said. “If not, we’ll have the Saturday to get it done.”

The proposal Tamsen originally brought to the board included a new configuration of air conditioners on both the roof of the building and the ground. The two big units currently on the roof — one weighing 35 tons and the other 10 tons — take care of the whole building’s air conditioning. Reconfiguring the wiring and piping for the new setup, which would have included more smaller units, would have been prohibitively expensive, Tamson found out when the project bids came in: $445,000. He then rethought the project.

He contacted Engineered Air, which had built the first 35-ton unit, for their input. Tamsen discovered the engineer who had designed that unit was, in fact, still working at the company and still had the plans he’d drawn up 29 years ago. The company will engineer a custom-built unit for USD 465, the same size as the unit now on the roof.

Trane, of Wichita, will design and build a custom-made unit to replace the 10-ton apparatus. Tamsen said he has already been in discussion with Trane working through design issues.

Much of the work and equipment needed for the project will go to local subcontractors, Tamsen said.

“We’ll get the community in,” he said. “It’s a very good plan.”

And it is estimated to cost considerably less than the first plan: $160,000 vs. $445,000.

The board of education approved the plan unanimously.

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