Within the next 6 months….the main gymnasium at Newton High School should be air-conditioned. Last night the Newton School Board approved the low 365-thousand 290-dollar bid from Cunningham Incorporated to do the ductwork and install the mechanical equipment.

That’s Rachelle Hines with the school district’s architectural firm FRK Architects and Engineers of West Des Moines. She told the school board last night FRK has worked with Cunningham Incorporated of Oskaloosa before and they’ve done a good job. The installation work is to begin around March 1st, after basketball season. The school board had previously purchased the actual air conditioning equipment for the gym, which cost 191-thousand 963-dollars, because Hines said it had an 18 to 20 week lead time. With professional fees and other miscellaneous expenses, the total cost to air condition the Newton High School gym is listed at 634-thousand 942-dollars. But Hines notes that cost will go up if any asbestos abatement needs to be done, which can’t be determined until the actual installation is underway.