Paul M. Dorman High School in Roebuck, South Carolina, is achieving academic excellence that’s the envy of many other schools across the Southeast. Dorman High sends 86% of its graduates on to college or military service. Last year, Dorman grads earned more than $38 million in scholarships.

Dorman serves about 2,600 students at two main facilities: a separate 9th grade building and a 550,000-square-foot building for its 10th through 12th grade students. Campus-wide, there are three gymnasiums and a new 170,000 square foot Fine Arts addition to the 10-12 building.

In 2012, the school decided to replace its existing 3.5 million Btu/h steel boilers with higher efficiency condensing boilers to achieve multiple goals, including reducing the cost of hydronic space heating and water heating, improving reliability and making the schools more comfortable.

Mark Kirkland, Dorman’s director of maintenance and construction, attended a Lochinvar seminar and decided the 5 million Btu/h CREST condensing boiler was the ideal replacement choice. Dorman’s CREST boiler delivers up to 93% thermal efficiency and is fully modulating up to 10:1 turndown.

“We now have two CREST units for the 10-12 building that occupy less space in the boiler plant than the previous units,” Kirkland says. “The CREST’s modulating features are a major advantage. We can now easily turn down to 500,000 Btu/h, whereas the steel boilers would burn at least 2.8 million Btu/h anytime they were running. We’re now able to provide lower temperature water to the buildings and still maintain the comfort level. That’s a huge savings!” 

Kirkland gives the CREST units an A+ for reliability and durability. “If we just do routine service on the boilers, we don’t have to touch them all year long,” he says.

Dorman leaders were so impressed by the CREST improvements they’re adding a 6 million Btu/h CREST to the 9th grade building later
this year.


CREST lowers humidity

There’s also been a big improvement in the comfort level of Dorman’s hydronic space heating. “With the steel boilers, we were averaging about 70% humidity, and with CREST we’re now in the 55% to 65% range,” Kirkland says.

“Humidity is definitely a problem in the Southeast,” adds Dorman Principal Ken Kiser. “Down here, the M-word stands for mold — and that’s not a good thing in schools. Since getting the CREST units, our 1,500-seat auditorium has low humidity and stays very comfortable. There’s a lot of fabric in the auditorium seats, and by extracting humidity, we don’t have to worry about mold issues.”

Although Dorman High is not technically a year-round school, there are activities that take place throughout the calendar year. 

“We have summer school, athletic camps and summer theater camps, so the buildings are used year-round,” Kiser says. “One of the great things about our Lochinvar partnership is we’re confident we can provide the hot water and comfort for our students as we grow. Our students can focus on what’s most important: Academic achievement.”

“Thanks to the CREST it can be 35° F outside in the winter, but when you walk in the buildings it’s toasty warm,” Kirkland adds. “And that’s with one CREST completely off and the other running at 55%. The last year we ran the steel boilers, we burned 48,500 therms. In the first year with CREST, we burned 32,576 therms. That’s a $22,000 savings year-over-year.”

“We really appreciate our partnership with Lochinvar and local Lochinvar manufacturers’ representative, James M. Pleasants,” said Greg Cantrell, district deputy superintendent. “The high-efficiency CREST units are helping us be better stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars. Plus they’re easy to maintain and we can count on them to provide comfort and control humidity.”

Lochinvar’s recently enhanced CREST boilers are now available in 12 models with inputs from 750,000 to 6 million Btu/h with thermal efficiency rating ranging from 96% to 96.2%.