Washington County Board of Education members met in a special session Tuesday to approve a $686,491 bid from Energy Systems Group to retrofit 15 county schools for ionization units.
The purchase comes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that closed many classrooms in the county for most of 2020.
The ionization units are designed to capture particles and filter the air before releasing it back into a room. School officials believe the ionization units will be helpful in killing not only the novel coronavirus, but flu and cold viruses that might also be circulating in classrooms.
Earlier this year, schoolsschools officials said they were confident Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund money could be used to pay for the ionization units.
Washington County Director of Schools Jerry Boyd told the board the bid for the ionization devices was under the amount estimated for the project. He said the bid came in at $600 per unit instead of the $1,000 per unit cost that had been anticipated.
Similar ionization units have been installed in the Oak Ridge and Anderson County school systems.
Board member Chad Fleenor questioned if the units would be installed in Jonesborough, Midway and Asbury schools, which are facilities set to be replaced in coming years. School administrators said the units are “transferable,” and could be relocated to the new Jonesborough K-8 school.
• In other business, the board approved a $197,928 bid to replace kitchen equipment at David Crockett High School. The money will go to buy fryers, convection ovens and 40-gallon kettles for the high school.
School board members also voted to ask the county’s Health, Education and Welfare Committee for $697,000, which is the projected cost to replace doors and hardware at Sulphur Springs and Fall Branch elementary schools.
The action came after the board rescinded its earlier vote to reject bids for the items that came in higher than what officials had projected.