BMI Mechanical Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
BMI Mechanical Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

Visalia Times-Delta: ImagineU’s Plight Touches Community

▸ July 14, 2012

By Donna-Marie Sonnichsen

An outpouring of support from throughout the county to a local museum has shown once more the heart the people of Tulare County have.

Guy Fawkes, right, and Kevin Stiffler, top, both with air conditioning company BMI, install the two portable air conditioning units on loan to help ImagineU Interactive Children's Museum until a more permanent solution can be found. Photo: Steve R. Fujimoto

Guy Fawkes, right, and Kevin Stiffler, top, both with air conditioning company BMI, install the two portable air conditioning units on loan to help ImagineU Interactive Children’s Museum until a more permanent solution can be found. Photo: Steve R. Fujimoto

The ink was barely dry on the news article about the popular ImagineU Children’s Museum shutting down indefinitely when phones started ringing at both the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register and at the museum as people and businesses throughout the county reached out after being touched by their plight.

The interactive museum had to cut programming short and send everyone home Saturday when the compressor in the air conditioning unit for the main part of the museum died.

In Tulare, BMI Mechanical heard about the situation from an employee and by Thursday afternoon were installing temporary industrial-size portable cooling units.

Even with partial air conditioning and fans, the temperature inside ImagineU Interactive Children's Museum Thursday afternoon was 90 degrees Fahrenheit before the temporary units from BMI were installed. Photo by: Steve R. Fujimoto

Even with partial air conditioning and fans, the temperature inside ImagineU Interactive Children’s Museum Thursday afternoon was 90 degrees Fahrenheit before the temporary units from BMI were installed. Photo by: Steve R. Fujimoto

“I’ve volunteered at the museum and used to work for one, so I know the struggle nonprofits fact,” BMI sales manager Erin Andersen said. “We had a meeting of the minds and brainstormed ideas on how to help both short term and into the future. This is an area of expertise for us and we felt like we needed to step up.”

While their long-term problems are not yet settled, the generosity means the museum will reopen Tuesday, just in time forĀ a previously scheduled field trip of 180 elementary schoolchildren.

“I’ve gone from being so worried about what we were going to do to feeling very optimistic. I was just overwhelmed by response from the community. I’ve always known it was a great community, but even knowing that, I was still overwhelmed but the response,” executive director Virginia Strawser said.

Employee Guy Fawkes brought the situation to the BMI higher ups’ attention after his wife saw the article.

Guy Fawkes brings in one of the two portable air conditioning units on loan to help ImagineU Interactive Children's Museum until a more permanent solution can be found. Photo by: Steve R. Fujimoto

Guy Fawkes brings in one of the two portable air conditioning units on loan to help ImagineU Interactive Children’s Museum until a more permanent solution can be found. Photo by: Steve R. Fujimoto

“We’ve been trying to get more into community outreach in our own lives, so that’s where our hearts are. If we have the resources, why not use them and contribute to the sense of community?” Fawkes asked just before installing the portable units.

Other local air conditioning firms such as Grant’s and Comfort Now have also come forward to help examine the system for possible repairs and to look into ways to help.

“Things are definitely looking better working on bringing [the old system] back to life, but we will still need to preplace the main unit,” Strawser said, noting she is relieved she won’t have to disappoint kids counting on next week’s field trip.

Factoid

The median service life of a package air conditioner is 15 years.

ASHRAE

Since 2004, BMI has provided our company with an outstanding HVAC Preventive Maintenance Program. I must say that the ‘details’ are in place at BMI. Their technicians are courteous, on time, knowledgeable and are able to take care of any problems on their first visit.

Dave Cavanaugh
Operations Manager
UNISOURCE

1-800-698-4264