Courthouse chiller location being prepped

A property has been selected for the Parker County Courthouse chiller once it reaches the end of its life cycle. The chiller will be relocated to the emergency operations building property and city street rehabilitation projects will benefit the preparation of the move.

At a previous Weatherford city council meeting, Director of Public Works Manny Palacios revealed the next steps in the downtown street rehabilitation projects, which includes Trinity Avenue, where the EOC building sits.

“The roads are in pretty poor shape and we need to rehab them … we have bulb-outs (curb extensions), we have a one-way on Trinity Avenue going westbound towards the square and then Austin Avenue, one way going northbound towards Spring Street,” Palacios said. “The main thing, the whole purpose, was to make it aesthetically pleasing, pedestrian-friendly, ADA compliant, add sidewalks and increase parking.”

Shannon Nave with Baird, Hampton and Brown relayed the information to the commissioners court this week, saying the rehabilitation projects will help in the chiller relocation preparations.

“Along Trinity, we have the emergency operations center, the back of Justice of the Peace 2 and the district court, so one of the largest property owners adjacent to these projects the city is doing is the county," Nave said. "The chiller line is going down Trinity and all of this, to a certain degree, works to the county’s favor. Part of this project is the city’s having to pay for the modifications they want to make, which is putting the electricity underground. The transformer would be a ground-mounted transformer at the EOC and the city is paying for that as well as relocating the fiber optic to the rear of the building, so that’s all going to work in conjunction with our project.

"We would normally have to repair Trinity to a higher standard and because we’re going in — and within a few months they’re going to rip up and completely redo Trinity — the city’s not requiring [the county] to repair the road to the same condition it would have otherwise.”

Discussions about the chiller began in 2018 when it was discovered that the operation of the chiller inside the courthouse was causing humid conditions. The goal was to get the chiller working properly and then prep an outside location to move it if it quits working.

The city of Weatherford is requiring that the work be completed by next summer, which Nave said shouldn’t be a problem.

“These are going to be big changes adjacent to county property so I wanted to make sure [the court] was aware of it,” Nave said. “This is a Weatherford project and essentially we’re coordinating with them with our project.”

As for preparation for the chiller relocation, Nave said the plans are moving along well.

“We had nine locations downtown that we were looking at and the EOC was chosen,” Nave said. “The chiller relocation project, it’s a slight misnomer in the name. We’re not taking the chiller out of this building and placing this chiller at this location, we’re preparing a site because what we know is this chiller is going to come to the end of its life cycle in the next two or three years. When we go through this process, there’s a lot of entities we have to work with and it’s not a project we can just go out and say, ‘We can put this chiller line in and we’ll be operational next week.’ It takes many, many months to get through this.”

Nave said they’ll have everything ready to go at the EOC site so that when the chiller does go out, they can put a new one in easily.

“What we also have is, if we did this project and everything is complete early 2021 and the chiller was to go down, you’re going to have to order a new chiller to go here and so you’ll have to have a temporary chiller,” Nave said. “So we won’t have to put a temporary chiller on the yard of the courthouse.”

The commissioners court approved two items with the project — the location and addition of concrete for the future chiller and a disconnect switch for the generator that sits on the EOC property. 

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