The City of Great Bend has been aware the past few years that the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the Crest Theater is in need of replacement. Taking the effort to preserve the historic auditorium on Lakin Avenue, the Great Bend City Council approved the low bid from Glassman Corporation for an HVAC system to replace the air conditioning unit and boiler.
Professional Engineering Consultants determined the new HVAC system route was better than making repairs.
“I babysit that system all winter,” said Great Bend Building Inspector Lee Schneider. “I would go over there everyday to make sure it had water in it. When it was really cold, I would come over on the weekends to make sure it was operating. There are so many pinholes and small leaks everywhere that you lose your water.”
Great Bend received three bids for the project from Glassman, Comfort Pro, and Kruse Corporation. Once three reductions and one addition of services were calculated, Glassman’s low bid totaled $572,700. Glassman’s base bid without the alternatives was $593,000, Comfort Pro’s bid was $787,125.77, and Kruse’s was $973,800.
The City Council also approved a $16,820 bid from ACM Removal – Kansas LLC to remove asbestos from the Crest Theater prior to the HVAC construction.
Considering the current HVAC system has been in place since the building was constructed in 1950, Councilmember Dana Dawson felt the money would be well spent.
“I know it sounds like a lot of money, but we don’t want to let anything to happen with that building,” Dawson said. “It’s also been very little upkeep over the years. The existing system is original.”
The City of Great Bend has set aside $350,000 over the past two years for the HVAC purchase. Great Bend will find out on May 4, 2019 if they received a Historic Preservation Grant that pays up to $95,000, and are applying for historic state tax credits. The Crest Theater Board is responsible for paying the remaining balance not funded by the City.
In 2017, the City Council approved a $49,000 agreement with PEC to develop the HVAC replacement design.
Commonwealth Theater donated or deeded the Crest Theater to the City of Great Bend with a lease that runs out in 2046.