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Mattoon school board hears career center renovation, course development updates

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MATTOON — The Mattoon school board heard updates Tuesday evening regarding renovations and course offering development for the planned regional high school career training center.

The updates included a presentation by account executive Bruce Combs with Johnson Controls, a company that has been helping with performance contracting energy efficiency projects at various Mattoon school district buildings. The projects have been expanded to include the six-story office building at 121 S. 17th St. downtown that is being converted into the Leaders Innovating for Tomorrow (LIFT) career training center.

Combs said the renovation project is set to include the installation of energy efficient condensing boilers, variable volume air handling units with high efficiency motors, and a building control system with sensors for its thermostats and other components. He said the district will need to be mindful of supply shortages as it prepares LIFT for opening by fall 2022.

"The lead time on some of these pieces of equipment is becoming a very real issue," Combs said, adding that he has seen air handling units need 23 weeks for delivery.

Combs also said third floor of LIFT is slated to to offer a small-scale heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration system for vocational training. The board approved vocational course offerings Tuesday night for LIFT that incorporate Johnson Controls' infrastructure there and its small-scale system.

Other vocational courses at LIFT are planned to include communications, childcare, information technology, manufacturing and construction, and culinary arts. The district voted in April to purchase the LIFT building, which was previously a Consolidated Communications facility.

During Tuesday's meeting, the board also gave the district permission to seek bids for asbestos removal at the LIFT building.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Tom Sherman said Environmental Engineering LLC has recommended removing asbestos in the basement floor tile and other areas, modifying building components such as the roofing material containing asbestos, and allowing asbestos to remain at points like the terrazzo flooring in the first floor lobby.

Contact Rob Stroud at 217-238-6861.


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Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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