Central air conditioning will cool the Sykesville Town House in about 30 days.
An energy-efficient system will replace the aging and noisy window air conditioners that are scattered throughout the building.
"The window units barely do the job," said Town Manager James L. Schumacher. "The units are all outside and have to work harder. They just don't cool."
The temperature in the meeting room, often crowded with spectators, reaches uncomfortable levels quickly. The century-old Town House on Main Street "gets hot because it has a lot of windows and southern exposure," Mr. Schu
macher said. "The meeting room especially gets so warm when there are crowds."
Electricity required by the present units also is having a detrimental effect on the new computer system.
"The computers beep or sometimes cut off every time there is an energy surge from the many air conditioners," he said.
The new system will have its own circuit breakers.
Contractors will rewire the two-story building and install interior units in the attic and basement.
"All our documents are stored in the attic, and this will provide more temperature control," Mr. Schumacher said.
The contractor will also meet with members of the town HistoricCommission before deciding where to place the exterior units.
The town budgeted $5,000 last year for the project. Mr. Schumacher said an additional $5,000 is available this year in the capital improvements budget.
"We know the new units will be more energy-efficient and cost-effective," he said. "Eventually, they will pay for themselves."
Mr. Schumacher said he planned to review three bids with Bill Oler, the building inspector. He expected to award the contract today.
"We have the prices and have held a post-bid meeting," he said. "We should have the job completed by August."