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Houston makes jail inmates more comfortable

Michael Phillips, maintenance supervisor at the Houston County jail, talks about the furnace boiler that is being replaced.
Michael Phillips, maintenance supervisor at the Houston County jail, talks about the furnace boiler that is being replaced. The Telegraph

Anyone residing in the Houston County jail this winter might be a little more comfortable thanks to an expense the commissioners approved Tuesday.

The board approved a low bid of $79,716 to replace two boilers that haven’t been working properly. One of the boilers heats water for general use such as laundry and showers. The other one is part of the furnace system.

Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker pointed out the jail opened 13 years ago.

“Times slips by and things start aging and equipment has to be replaced,” Stalnaker said.

Operations Director Robbie Dunbar said the furnace boiler, made by Aerco Benchmark, was installed with the jail expansion in 2010. The boiler is no longer under warranty, and Dunbar said he would have hoped for a longer life out of it. The furnace boiler in the original part of the jail is still working, but Dunbar said that may also need to be replaced in the near future.

The furnace boiler being replaced is a high-efficiency unit that required special technicians from Atlanta to come and work on it. The new boiler will be a standard type that the county maintenance staff can work on, which will save money, Dunbar said.

“We have spent a lot of money on it,” he said of the current boiler.

Michael Phillips, maintenance supervisor at the jail and courthouse, said it took a lot of work last year to keep the jail properly heated. He said the temperature should be a lot more stable this winter with the new boiler installed.

The county hopes to have the new boilers installed before cold weather hits. GHC Mechanical of Macon had the low bid. The expense is funded through the 2012 special purpose local option sales tax.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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