07/14/09 — District waits for news on state money

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District waits for news on state money

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 14, 2009 1:49 PM

While awaiting the outcome of the state's budget, school officials received good news Monday that a performance contract entered into in 2008 has produced marked energy savings for the district.

Tim Gasper, solutions engineer for Trane, the company hired to identify where efforts were needed to reduce energy consumption and/or energy-related operating costs, updated the board on the plan's progress. He shared at the Board of Education meeting some of the improvements, particularly in classrooms and infrastructure, resulting in energy and operating savings.

"Phase 1 has exceeded another year of guaranteed savings and Phase 2 is progressing well," Gasper said.

The performance contract has already delivered about $3 million worth of infrastructure -- which ranges from lighting, water-saving devices and air conditioning to boilers, chillers and computerized control systems -- with a total of $8 million anticipated by the time Phase 2 is completed later this year.

Savings have already exceeded what had been projected, Gasper said.

Initially, Trane had guaranteed the district savings at $573,466. Total savings thus far have been $601,197, or $27,731 over what had been projected.

The majority of the savings are coming from Spring Creek and Eastern Wayne high schools, he said. Guaranteed savings at Spring Creek had been set at $114,954 and have already reached $120,771, while at Eastern Wayne they had been projected at $85,124 and reached $88,066.

"Those two schools generate the vast majority but all of them are saving the district money," Gasper said.

Another project, at Rosewood Middle School, also saved the district more than $100,000, he added.

"We converted boilers from fuel oil to natural gas. By including both schools, the gas company provided over 7,000 feet of natural gas piping at no charge to the district," Gasper explained.

Meanwhile, school officials are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the state budget, which was to have been completed by June 30, Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said.

He said he has been in regular communication with the legislative delegation, "telling them many things they have done that I didn't like" as well as the positives.

"I know they're working very hard, but we're in the middle of July and have to get things organized for the next school year," he said. "I have been told that hopefully this week it will be done."

No matter what transpires, Taylor told the board, every effort is being made to ensure the smooth start of another school year.

"We appreciate your support and patience," he said. "It's just a few days now from what we're hearing. ... We may start (the school year) with less but I promise you we're going to give our best. With dedicated teachers and staff, we'll get the job done."