Housing authority completes heating, cooling installations

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Lewisburg's Public Housing Authority recently completed installation of central heat and air conditioning systems for the homes it rents to 473 residents.

Ronald Robinson, executive director of the housing authority, explained late last week that two more buildings might get new systems this year: the Carver Heights and George W. Turner community centers.

"We have applied for money for those," Robinson said of requests filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "The priority was to get the tenants' homes done first. Now, I'd say the priority would be to get the doors and windows done" for the efficiency of the central heat and air conditioning.

Installation of central heating, ventilation and cooling systems started under Robinson's predecessor, Jerry Freeman. Robinson became the executive director in April 2004.

There were 28 HVAC units installed under the last contract supervised by Robinson in a $183,500 program that saw the last of the systems installed nearly three weeks ago, Robinson said.

Installation of the 28 HVAC units started in July, he said. Most of the central systems were added when units were vacant.

New windows and doors provide greater insulation for the housing units. Such improvements are not uncommon for a municipality's housing authority.

"We've installed 68 new doors and (68) storm doors for 34 housing units at a cost of $59,000," Robinson said.

With four to 11 windows per housing unit, the authority has had 42 double-hung, energy efficient window units at a cost of $62,500, he said.

"Our plans are to finish up on the doors in 2008," the authority's executive director said.

The windows were bought locally from Lambert Lumber Co., Robinson said. The doors were purchased through use of the state bid contract awarded to a company in Nashville. Ruud HVAC units were purchased from Charles Eversole & Co. of McMinnville.

New kitchen cabinets and counter tops have also been installed in 18 housing units at a cost of $18,000, Robinson said.

Lewisburg Housing Authority owns 220 dwellings in five projects at two locations. The authority was established in 1953. Construction of the first set of publicly-owned dwellings was completed by 1959. The last of the five projects was completed in 1971.

The units size ranges from one to five bedrooms. Most have three bedrooms. There are 21 four-bedroom units and nine five-bedroom units. However, three of the five-bedroom units have been serving other purposes.

Two are used for the Head Start program, one each for different age groups of children. Another five-bedroom unit has been used to house offices for the South Central Human Resources Agency.

Because the Human Resources Agency has been moving to other quarters recently, that five-bedroom dwelling is to become available this year.

"One of the housing authority's goals in 2008 is to reconvert the offices back into a housing unit," Robinson said.

During 2007, 52 families moved into the public housing units and 47 moved out, he said.

Eight units were vacant on Friday, Robinson said.

"Out of those eight units," he said, "five are ready for occupancy."

As for those units' size, Robinson said two are two-bedroom unit and there is one each of the three-, four-, and five-bedroom units.