Xylem Bell & Gossett Little Red Schoolhouse is back in session
Xylem Bell & Gossett’s Little Red Schoolhouse in Morton Grove, Illinois, has been an industry icon in education for over 60 years, having trained more than 62,000 engineers, contractors and other hydronic HVAC and plumbing professionals have been educated in the proper design, installation and maintenance of hydronic and steam systems.
The Little Red Schoolhouse offers training covering a wide range of seminars tailored to different occupations within the industry, and is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
The Little Red Schoolhouse has traditionally differentiated itself from other education facilities in the industry by emphasizing a systems-based concept of teaching rather than focusing on product features and benefits. Courses are intimate, averaging around 40 or fewer individuals per class, and are offered free of charge. Through hands-on training and technological advancements, the Little Red Schoolhouse has remained at the forefront of industry technology.
“With a mix of people attending the Little Red Schoolhouse, we want to make sure we are effectively teaching all of our students,” says Mike Licastro, Training and Education Manager, Commercial Building Services and HVAC, Bell & Gossett. “Whether it’s customers, manufacturer’s representatives, engineers, technicians or contractors, our goal is that the training provides a knowledge base that makes them better equipped to perform their daily job duties related to hydronic and steam product application and system design.”
Renovation and technology
The Little Red Schoolhouse is back in session following an extensive remodeling project that transformed the training center into an interactive learning environment, where professionals are able to see and touch components so they can understand how the entire HVAC system works.
Bell & Gossett has reinforced its emphasis on hands-on training with dedicated space for several new demonstration areas that feature functional displays of equipment for a variety of commercial and industrial applications, including variable speed controller technology, plumbing products and service and maintenance.
“We wanted to make sure that no matter where you were in the Little Red Schoolhouse, there was a learning opportunity readily available,” says Licastro.
A plumbing display area was built to showcase the latest water-based technologies and opportunities, including variable speed pumps, hot water circulation systems and more. The pump displays are now compatible with new pump technology, improving the hands-on learning experience. Enhancements have also been made to the steam and hydronics training display.
“We can watch pumps stage on and off or change speeds accordingly to match the loads necessary in specific applications,” Licastro says. “We also have the ability to generate and store hot water and demonstrate different ways to balance these systems.”
The dedicated service and maintenance training area is an interactive training space with working demonstrations of pumps and controls to learn proper service and maintenance procedures. Ten carts are equipped with various Bell & Gossett products, providing attendees the opportunity to learn how to disassemble, assemble and troubleshoot numerous types of equipment.
Other demonstration centers include:
- An HVAC area that showcases pressure-dependent control belts and sensorless variable speed controls
- A steam system design area featuring a live, operational electric steam boiler; glass shell tube heat exchangers and more
- A condensing boiler section that generates hot water for the plumbing display and allows students to track the water’s journey throughout the facility
The Little Red Schoolhouse offers a wide range of courses, from basics for entry level professionals to more technical courses to help seasoned veterans expand their skills. Every innovation in the newly renovated facility is specifically designed to ensure the next generation is adequately prepared to provide comfort services today and tomorrow, says Licastro.
Along with its IACET accreditation, the Little Red Schoolhouse complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard and is approved by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) as a provider of continuing education for LEED professionals.
During a grand reopening event at the Xylem Bell & Gossett Little Red Schoolhouse on September 12, 2019, several visitors shared their thoughts on what the esteemed learning institution means to them and for the industry.
“I came out of the University of Minnesota in 1986 after spending five years learning engineering skills to become an engineer. I worked for two weeks and then came to the Little Red Schoolhouse for three months of training. In those three months, I actually learned hydronics and steam systems. I didn’t learn that in engineering school. This was the place that taught me. I think it’s significant that since 1954 this place has been teaching the industry hydronics and steam systems. Plus, they don’t charge for this; this school is free. By updating the Little Red Schoolhouse and giving it the stability to take it to the next level, I’m very excited about that.”
— Jim Burns, President, Mulcahy Co.
“I came out as a graduate of the Little Red Schoolhouse’s summer program back in 1988. The history of this place is significant to the industry because more than 60,000 people have come through this program. That’s a huge number. Bell & Gossett is building on all of that past history of design and equipment excellence and preparing the Little Red Schoolhouse for the industry’s next generation.”
— David Everhart, President, Bornquist Inc.
“One of the biggest opportunities in hydronic HVAC and plumbing system design is integrating technology and innovation into the process. For example, variable speed control in a parallel pumping system is a proven method of increasing efficiency and reducing costs, but even greater efficiencies and savings are attainable when designers combine advanced logic controllers and today’s more economical variable speed drives. The technology alone isn’t the key to efficiency. We’re finding there is a need to educate system designers on how to leverage technology to optimize efficiency.”
— Alan Jones, Global Product Manager, Centrifugal Pumps, Bell & Gossett, Xylem Inc.
Upcoming Seminar Schedule
Nov. 11, 2019 – Nov. 13: Modern Hydronic Heating Systems – Basic Seminar
Nov. 18, 2019 – Nov. 20: Modern Hydronic Heating Systems – Advanced Seminar
Dec. 09, 2019 – Dec. 11: Design & Application of Water-Based HVAC Systems Seminar
To learn more about the Little Red Schoolhouse, enrollment, course descriptions and online courses, please visit www.bellgossett.com
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