MANSFIELD -- A new geothermal heating and cooling system is needed at the Gorman Nature Center, with an expected price tag of around $25,000.
Jason Larson, director of the Richland County Park District, told Richland County commissioners on Tuesday the system cannot be repaired.
"We have been tweaking it the last four or five years with (Friends of Gorman Nature) funds, replacing components here and there. But the heat exchangers have finally given out. They are obsolete ... they don't make them anymore," Larson said.
Larson said four local heating/cooling contractors have examined the system. He said all four will supply price quotes, but all agreed the current two-decade old system can't be repaired.
The original system was donated, according to Larson, who said the first price quote he received was $25,828.
A geothermal HVAC system harnesses the power of the earth for energy transfer.
Underneath the earth’s surface, the ground temperature remains relatively consistent year-round. A geothermal HVAC system uses a specially designed loop-style heat exchanger.
The heat exchanger equipment is connected to the earth through a specially designed network of polyethylene piping.
Larson said the good thing about geothermal systems is they don't require fuel. In addition, he said, solar panels on the building roof paid for by the Friends group reduces the electric bill at the 2295 Lexington Ave. facility.
Commissioners agreed the system needs to replaced. Larson will submit additional price estimates and return to an upcoming session with commissioners for final approval.
Also on Tuesday, commissioners announced that 27.011 acres will be annexed from Madison Township into the City of Mansfield. The annexation of the land, which borders Illinois Avenue, was requested by the property owners, seeking access to city water.