TSP awards prize money to Andes Central School

November 14, 2019


Prize money from a contest that sought outstanding building projects using propane for fuel was awarded to the Andes Central School District of Lake Andes, SD, on Monday night, Nov. 11.

Jared Nesje, chief executive officer of TSP, Inc., presented a check for $10,000 to Andes Central School Board President Debbie Houseman and the other school board members at the start of the monthly school board meeting.

TSP had submitted the Andes Central project, which includes a new high school building and renovations to the elementary school, to the Propane Project of the Year competition, offered through the Propane Education & Research Council of Washington, DC. The 2019 competition was open to builders, remodelers, architects, engineers, and trade professionals in the United States involved in projects completed after Jan. 1, 2016.

Andes Central Elementary and Middle School renovations were completed in August 2018. Students moved into the high school in February 2019. All grades now are located on the same campus. A link connects the two buildings and has created an outdoor courtyard space.

TSP officials immediately decided that a successful entry in the Propane Project of the Year program would benefit Andes Central students, Nesje said.

“We said from the beginning that should we win, the Andes Central School District would receive the prize money,” he said.

TSP, an integrated architecture and engineering firm with offices in three states, focuses on projects in the areas of education, healthcare, and community. TSP’s Sioux Falls office, which marks its 90th year in 2020, designed the Andes Central project.

Superintendent Debera Lucas said the $10,000 prize will be used to purchase new playground equipment. The board’s decision Monday fit perfectly into TSP’s hope that the students would benefit in some way.

The school board knew the current playground equipment should be replaced and had asked several teachers to look into that.

“This will be something that will be there for a long time,” Lucas said. “It’s right next to the Little League field, and it’s used all the time. This will be wonderful for our community.”

In designing Andes Central, TSP’s architects, engineers, and interior designers created 12 flexible classrooms that can be used for multiple purposes, including science “classatories” that can be transformed from classrooms to laboratories and back again.

The elementary school’s original gym became a K-12 library that serves as the heart of the campus. The outdoor courtyard can be used as an exterior classroom space. TSP honored the school district’s Native American enrollment with banners extolling the characteristics of good students written in both English and Dakota.

TSP engineers replaced the school’s old propane boilers with new energy-efficient systems that have a 93% efficiency rating. The original building had been retrofitted with geothermal heating systems over the years, using propane boilers as a supplemental heating system. TSP’s engineers determined that a new geothermal system would be too costly for Andes Central’s budget and found a propane system that was more suitable.

Adding to the geothermal system also would have restricted Andes Central’s future flexibility in expanding the school campus. Its location would have created a school district that once again found itself land locked.

Propane boilers also offered advantages from the perspectives of comfort, controllability, and maintenance. The propane boilers feed heating system throughout the school, and air volume boxes control airflow to the rooms. The boilers feed heating coils inside the air handlers to preheat the ventilation air.

Propane units also heat the school’s water. The school district already used propane equipment in the kitchen.