Courthouse heating and cooling system repairs discussed


While two units that help regulate the heating and cooling system at the Cheyenne County Courthouse have exhausted their life spans and need to be replaced, County Commissioners heard Monday that a local contractor may be able to help.

Commissioners were first told earlier this spring the two air handlers in the building’s HVAC system needed to be replaced.

In the subsequent months, funding was identified, a bid approved and a contract finalized.

And then in early April, around the time work was supposed to begin, Johnson Controls – the firm that had been selected to complete the work – called.

Due to a miscalculation, the actual cost to replace the units would be double the price agreed to in the contract.

The company requested the commissioners nullify the original contract.

After consulting with Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub, who said a contact could be canceled on grounds of a mistake of fact, commissioners reluctantly abided by Johnson Control’s request – and wound up back at the drawing board.

During Monday’s commissioners meeting, Vaughn Russell – a local contractor – said he had heard about the county’s setback with Johnson Controls.

“I wanted to let you know we have some local talent, and we’d like an opportunity to look at the situation here,” he said.

He said he is familiar with Johnson Controls equipment, and even though the company would have to allow someone other than its own technicians to conduct work on the system, it’s possible.

Commissioner Chairman Darrell Johnson asked if anyone had concerns about allowing Russell to evaluate the problem.

“I like the local element,” Schaub said. “Only one question: how would it affect any warranties?”

County building and grounds superintendent Roger Conley said there are a few pieces of equipment in the HVAC system still under warranty.

Russell replied that he has subcontracted for Johnson Controls in the past.

Johnson said while the commissioners aren’t ready to accept bids, he supported Russell looking at the system.

“I just want to know, can you fix it?” Johnson asked. “Can you repair it, at a local level?”

He then asked Conley to show Russell the air handlers that need to be replaced.

“We’re open for suggestions,” Johnson added.

The next Cheyenne County Commissioners meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 18 at 8 a.m. at the Cheyenne County Courthouse.


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