The installation of a new air-conditioning system at city hall is now under way and expected to be completed before this summer.

Lakebrink Heating and Air Conditioning, Union, is installing the new variable refrigerant flow system to replace the current boiler system.

“The old boiler system was high maintenance,” said Mayor Mike Livengood. “There was a lot more failure and future expenses with plumbing.

“The need for an upgrade was critical,” he added.

The new system would provide heat in areas that are not temperature controlled now, including the auditorium and the city clerk’s office.

The city clerk’s office is heated with space heaters.

Livengood noted that an air-conditioned auditorium has been a need for several years.

“We’ve always wanted to get more versatility out of it,” he said.

Livengood explained that once the auditorium is air conditioned people are more likely to rent the facility during the summer months.

Allen Eaker, co-owner of Lakebrink Heating and Air Conditioning, estimated that work is about 50 percent completed and should take another few weeks to finish the job.

Work is now under way to install units in the gymnasium, Eaker said.

Lakebrink submitted the only bid for the work, for $400,000, which was under the estimated cost of $426,000.

There were five general contractors who attended a pre-bid meeting to look at the current system and take measurements of city hall.

Lakebrink was the only company to submit a bid.

City Administrator Russell Rost has said that any future expansion of city hall would be to the east. The mechanical components of the HVAC system would be installed on the west side of the building.

According to Rost, the heating and cooling system are being funded from the city’s cash reserves.

Each year the city sets aside 25 percent of its operating budget for emergencies. Rost said the new system is not an emergency, but the cash reserves can be utilized for major projects.

The procedure of setting aside funds is a recommendation from budget analysis schools to municipal financial officers.