Current heating units installed approximately two decades ago

During the weeks when its clock wasn’t functioning, business went on as normal inside the Marion County Courthouse in Palmyra. Fearful that such would not be the case if the building’s heating units failed in the dead of winter the county commissioners have decided to spend some “cold cash” to keep the building warm.

Teya Stice, capital coordinator for the county, and Neil O’Bryan, the county’s maintenance director, recently brought to the commission’s attention that both of the building’s heating units – primary and backup – were suffering from cracked heat exchangers. The cracks in the units were allowing coolant to leak out.

The heating system’s problems weren’t a total surprise.

“We knew the main furnace had problems,” said Lyndon Bode, presiding commissioner. “We switched to the backup, thinking it would last until summer. But it’s not going to make it until then.”

A bid from Peters Heating and Air Conditioning of $32,900 for new primary and backup units was accepted during the Monday, Feb. 5, commission meeting.

“They (Peters) have been given the green light,” said Bode.

The replacement process is expected to begin on Monday, Feb. 12, according to Bode.

“They will install the main unit first and then the backup,” he said.

The county has gotten its money’s worth out of the old furnace units.

“They were installed during the courthouse renovations which took place in the late 1990s or early 2000s,” said Bode. “We should now be good for another 20 years.”

According to Bode, as the old heating units are removed O’Bryan will be on the lookout for parts which can be salvaged and possibly used elsewhere, such as at the courthouse in Hannibal, whose heating system is also close to two decades old.

“We’re having no problems (with the heating system) in Hannibal, but we’re keeping an eye on it,” said Bode. “We don’t want to replace them (furnaces) too fast. We’re hoping to get another winter or two out of them.”

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com