Grant will help replace HVAC at Firetree

The $100,000 grant Firetree Place received from the First Community Foundation Partnership will be assigned to replacing the heating and air conditioning system in the gymnasium at their facility at 600 Campbell St,

Pior to applying for the grant, the non-profit had done an assessment on the system, according to William Dayton, executive director.

“We were told it’s about 20 to 30 years past its prime. They were surprised it was still running,” he said.

One issue they had with the heating system was that on very cold days, it could not keep up with the need, Dayton said.

Firetree Place is a licensed child-care community center which offers before- and after-school programs aimed at youth in the area, in addition to recreational programs and a summer camp. They currently are serving 26 youth in the morning program and 48 youth in the after-school club, Dayton said.

The community center, in addition to their indoor facility, includes a Little League baseball field, outdoor basketball and tennis courts and two playgrounds.

The bidding process will be handled by Larson Design Group, which also did the original assessment of the HVAC system. Once a contractor is chosen, Dayton said work hopefully will begin by the end of March or the beginning of April. Completion is expected by mid-May.

Dayton said it is hoped that the new system will be in place before the beginning of Firetree Place’s summer camp for area youth. He added that although the before-and after-school programs will continue through the process of replacing the system, it will depend on the contractor whether activities in the gymnasium will be held.

The recreation program at Firetree includes basketball, Athletics 101, and a three on three league. A dodgeball tournament is also planned for early March.

With the new heating and air conditioning system, Dayton said the facility is hoping to expand their recreation program.

He said they will be able to “really utilize the gym to its full capacity.”

“We are very appreciative of the foundation and the work they do in the community,” Dayton said. “The foundation backing is great for us and for the community.”