Belgrade Senior Center Free Furnace

A worker conducts duct work at the Belgrade Senior Center Tuesday afternoon. The center was the recipient of the Lennox “Feel the Love” program after a consultation from Air Controls of Bozeman. Manager Dave White decided to nominate the center for the gift.

Just as Mother Nature decided to issue an early warning this week about the frosty weather soon to come, technicians were busy installing a new heating and cooling system at the Belgrade Senior Center – free of charge.

Senior Center Director Lisa Beedy said it has been apparent for some time that the center’s heating and cooling system needed attention.

“The furnace was definitely wearing out,” she said. “It was making horrible noises.

Beedy contacted Air Controls of Bozeman for a consultation. Dave White, a residential manager for the company, decided to nominate the center for the gift of a new furnace from Lennox through its “Feel the Love” program.

Even though “Feel the Love” is for homeowners in need of a new system, White said he felt that the Senior Center would be a worthy recipient. He made a pitch to Lennox, arguing that by awarding a system to the Senior Center, more than one family would benefit.

After learning that the center had been selected, Beedy said she expected to have to choose between a new furnace and an air conditioning system. Instead, Lennox said, “give them what they need,” and has provided both. The total value of the complete system, along with donated materials and labor from Air Controls and Kredit Electric of Manhattan, is about $20,000, Beedy said – a price that was “really beyond us.”

“We have been given an amazing gift,” she said.

Along with the furnace and new ductwork, new thermostats are being be installed so that temperatures can be controlled throughout the building by zone. Up until now, the main thermostat for the building has been located in the kitchen, which made it difficult to control temperatures properly elsewhere in the building, Beedy said.

The center also has been getting by with inefficient air conditioning wall units in the summer months, Beedy said, but they weren’t very effective.

“It’s going to make a huge difference,” she said.

The new system isn’t the first unexpected windfall for the center this fall. In September, the Belgrade City Council surprised the center by awarding it $30,000 in funding for the current fiscal year instead of the originally proposed $15,000. At the time, Beedy said she hoped the additional funding would allow the center to expand its programs and services to members.

“It’s been a blessing – a really cool experience to see how the community wants to support our seniors,” Beedy said.

A celebration in honor of the new heating system is planned for Saturday, Oct. 5, from 10-4 at the center for members and friends.