The HVAC department at San Jacinto College South received a donation of four pieces of commercial air-conditioning equipment from Lennox. Receiving the donation were: HVAC instructor Raul Lopez (left); students Luke Zimmermann and Joseph Allen; HVAC lead instructor Brian Sanders; and students Jose Caldera, Daniel Maldonado and Jorge Palestina.

Lennox Industries recently donated more than $30,000 in commercial HVAC equipment to Houston’s San Jacinto College South.

The college helps to retrain people laid off from the construction and petroleum industries, and the HVAC department has grown 600 percent in 36 months, thanks in part to its ability to help nearly all graduates find jobs in the industry.

“Heat and humidity have helped make Houston the air-conditioning capital of the United States, and local firms hire virtually 100 percent of the people we graduate each year,” said instructor Brian Sanders. “We’ve grown so fast that our budget for equipment hasn’t been able to keep pace, so the Lennox units have been a blessing for us.”

Sanders, who took over the department in January 2008, will use the four premium Lennox rooftop units to train students in commercial air-conditioning basics, troubleshooting and advanced electrical technology. With 260 students enrolled in the HVAC department last semester and 300 students expected this fall, the HVAC department plans to hire a third full-time instructor soon and has six part-time instructors.

“When I first took over the department we had 42 students,” Sanders said. “Our typical student is between the ages of 40 and 50 years old and is retraining for a new career.”

Brent Del Toro, a commercial district manager for Lennox Industries, arranged the equipment donation.

“We know the future of HVAC holds many exciting opportunities, and this will help give the next wave of contractors, technicians and installers a good working knowledge of Lennox equipment as soon as they enter the work force,” said Del Toro. “The more they know about Lennox equipment, the better they’ll be able to help customers control energy usage and operational costs.”

This is the second time Lennox has donated equipment to the college. A year ago, Lennox sent residential gas furnaces, condensing units, air conditioners and evaporator coils.