Redding looking into fixing community center HVAC
REDDING — It’s been so cold at the community center this month that seniors have had to wear winter coats while doing tai chi.
First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton mentioned the problem at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting. She also noted that portable air conditioners have had to be brought in during the summer months when a room at the center registered temperatures in the 90s.
Town officials are now looking into how to address the problem, starting with a study of the building’s heating, ventilation and cooling system.
“We can’t run programs when it’s like that,” she said. “The shame of it is we have a senior center that’s very vibrant. People really enjoy coming there.”
She added that the programs are not just for seniors.
Pemberton said the HVAC system has been a problem since she became first selectwoman in 2013. She suspects her predecessor also faced these issues.
“It was, in my view, never engineered properly so the temperatures fluctuate constantly,” she said.
She said it wasn’t something the staff could handle and the town should do a formal request for proposals for an engineering study, just like the schools did. She said the voters can then decide if this is something they want to fix.
Selectwoman Peg O’Donnell agreed something should be done to fix the problem.
“We have this building that we spent a lot of money on and we want to be able to use it,” she said. “We want to fill it with people doing fabulous things.”
In addition to the Heritage Center, which offers programs for the town’s seniors, the community center also house park and recreation and social services. Larger meetings and other functions are also held there.
Pemberton said the HVAC system is just one example of the maintenance work the town plans to invest in during the upcoming budget. She requested an inventory of the buildings to get a better handle on what needs to be done so the money can be allocated for it.
“Employees on the town side are so used to being told, ‘I’m sorry there’s no money for that,’” Pemberton said.