July 22, 2008

Trane Partnership With School District Needs Referendum Support

By Autumn Grooms, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jul. 22--Trane Co. proposed a partnership Monday with the La Crosse School District toward updating heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in La Crosse schools -- but it will hinge on voters approving a referendum in November.

"We are committed to devoting Trane's resources to provide a lasting, positive impact within the La Crosse School District for generations to come," said Jim Wajciechowski, district manager for Trane Wisconsin. Trane offered to provide 600 tons of cooling equipment, not to exceed three appliances, at no cost for La Crosse schools if the district pays $45,000 for energy studies in at least three buildings.

But that only will happen if district officials can convince taxpayers to support a capital improvements referendum, which failed in 2004 and in April votes.

Robert Schmidt, business development leader for Trane Wisconsin, estimated the HVAC equipment's value at $600,000.

"We have stepped up to deliver a solution to the La Crosse School District," Schmidt said. The plan allows the company to give back to the La Crosse community, where it has a "rich heritage," he said.

The La Crosse School Board could not take action on the proposal Monday because Wajciechowski, Schmidt and Kelly Cummings, account executive for Trane's La Crosse sales office, were guest speakers. The item will be on the Aug. 11 meeting agenda.

"To see that you have come forward to assist us, to assist the community and the school children in this district, I thank you from the bottom of my heart," said Christine Clair, school board president.

Superintendent Jerry Kember said the proposal offers the district the opportunity to have the necessary studies done and provides real industry costs to work with, along with a local company.

"I can't thank you enough for stepping up and doing something positive for your public schools," Kember said, noting many children in the district have parents and grandparents who work for the company.

Joe Ledvina, district supervisor of buildings and grounds, said programs are available to help cover some of the study costs. The study would be done before the referendum, he said.

If a referendum is approved, the project would be sent out for bids, with Trane's gift deducted from the cost.

Autumn Grooms can be reached at (608) 791-8424 or [email protected]


To see more of the La Crosse Tribune or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.lacrossetribune.com/.

Copyright (c) 2008, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.