Shelton-Mason County Journal - Dedicated to the citizens of Mason County, Washington since 1886

Report gives some Shelton High buildings poor HVAC ratings


September 30, 2021

The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction reports that 787 school buildings in the state receive “poor” ratings for their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, including 11 buildings at Shelton High School.

Those 11 buildings were last reviewed in January 2013, according to the state report. On a scale with 1.0 being “excellent,” nine of the buildings received a 0.45 mark and two buildings — the 100 administration building and the 200 building — received a mark of 0.30.

Nevertheless, “The HVAC systems at Shelton High School should not be a safety concern related to the COVID pandemic,” Katie Diamond, the Shelton School District’s communication specialist, wrote in an email to the Journal.

“This survey will be updated in 2022 with more up-to-date information,” Diamond wrote. “Additionally, the rating is largely weighted on age/life expectancy data more than anything and is not necessarily reflective of how the system performs specifically related to the COVID risk. The district hired an outside engineering firm to evaluate all our HVAC systems and implemented their suggestions, which included greater fresh air exchanges and higher MERV-rated filters. Also, COVID spread epidemiology has shown the highest chance of spread is by proximity and length of exposure, and to the extent that masks are being worn.”

Diamond pointed out that because district taxpayers have invested in the facilities, “we are fortunate to generally have new HVAC systems across our schools.”

“Newer building equipment provides more frequent air exchanges and tends to be able to handle thicker filtration,” she wrote. “Shelton High School has over 60,000 square feet of space with new HVAC equipment since the 2013 report referenced by OSPI. The newest information will be reflected in the OSPU Building Condition Survey in 2022.”

Other public schools in Mason County fared better in the survey.

Mary M. Knight High School, last inspected in February 2019, received a mark of 0.97 for “excellent.” North Mason High School received a mark of 0.71 for “fair.”

The new Pioneer Middle School received a perfect mark of 1.0 for an “excellent” rating.

In the Grapeview School District, the elementary school building received 0.81 for “fair” in November 2019. In April 2016, the middle school building A received 0.81 for “fair,’ and building B 0.90 for “good.”

The Hood Canal elementary and junior high building received 0.93 for “good” in February 2020.

The OSPI requires school districts that receive state money to upgrade their buildings to file inspection reports on HVAC systems for all their buildings.

Author Bio

Gordon Weeks, Reporter

Shelton-Mason County Journal & Belfair Herald
[email protected]


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