Hvac manufacturers show their Good Samaritan side

May 3, 2000
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Manufacturers of hvac products regularly support their communities in a variety of ways. The following are a couple of recent examples.

Angels in air conditioning

When several employees of York International’s Unitary Products Group in Norman, OK learned from a TV news story that the heating system was failing at Jesus House, a homeless shelter in Oklahoma City, these individuals responded from the heart.

With Christmas approaching, as a group, they asked management whether the season for giving extended to donating the necessary products to upgrade the heating and cooling for the converted, two-story school building.

York management agreed to provide Jesus House with seven 5-ton capacity Sunline® 2000 gas heat-electric cooling rooftop units and arrange for their installation.

One of the Sunline units was wrapped in a big red ribbon and presented just before Christmas in a December 21 ceremony at the shelter.

“We found out about the need at Jesus House when several of our employees saw the news story,” said Ben King, vice president of human resources at York Unitary Products. “They told us that the shelter’s heating system was on its last legs.

“Jesus House is an Oklahoma neighbor, and we want to be a good neighbor,” King continued. “The seven rooftop units were built right here in Oklahoma.”

York’s gift overwhelmed Jan Mercer, executive director of Jesus House, a charity founded by her mother, Sister Ruth Wynne, in 1983. The estimated total installed value of the company’s donation exceeds $40,000.

“I cannot believe it,” Mercer said. “I told Ben King that this feels like the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. We’re in Bedford Falls, and I feel like George Bailey. We can’t thank the people at York enough. And as great as it will be to have a new heating system, in the summertime the air conditioning will be especially appreciated.

“York’s generosity comes at an especially wonderful time because we just had to return a $20,000 grant to the city when it was discovered it was federal money. Federal guidelines specified that the money could not be used by a religious institution, so then we had to give it back, and we were quite destitute.”

Jesus House is a nondenominational enterprise funded primarily through public donations, that provides nightly food and shelter for up to 150 people.

Innovative school gets needed financing

Financing arranged by Johnson Controls, Inc., Milwaukee, WI, has helped make the Central City Cyberschool of Milwaukee a reality.

Of the $7 million needed to build the school, the manufacturer helped Cyberschool obtain nearly $3.9 million in funding for the project, which will be used to install heating, air conditioning, fire protection, security, and lighting controls in the building.

The company will also install a data network system from Lucent Technologies that will allow for wireless communications. The company will service and maintain the building systems for 15 years.

Cyberschool is operated by a nonprofit company under a five-year charter granted by the City of Milwaukee. Charter schools are tax-funded institutions that operate independently of public school districts.

The original five-year term for the Cyberschool charter limited school officials’ options for using traditional financing sources. Johnson Controls’ commitment to sign a 15-year contract helped the school get the loan.

“While we’re helping the Cyberschool dream become a reality, our involvement also is a sound business decision,” said Alex Molinaroli, vice president sales, Systems and Services North America for the controls business.

“A major goal at Johnson Controls is to deliver quality indoor environments,” he continued. “With Cyberschool, we’re providing the Milwaukee community another quality building environment delivered by state-of-the-art equipment.”

The school’s new 47,000-sq-ft facility, currently under construction, will be among the first elementary schools in North America to feature a wireless data network system where students can operate their laptop computers and access the Internet from anywhere within the building — without having to plug into a modem.

The school is part of the renovation of one of Milwaukee’s oldest public housing developments and will accommodate 400 students when it opens in September.

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