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Waynesboro school board adopts modified energy-savings project

May 18, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Calm discussion replaced heated debate Tuesday when the Waynesboro Area School Board unanimously approved an energy-savings project that a week earlier led to tears and shouting among board members.

"Not approving this last week was a good thing," board member Leland Lemley said.

The McClure Co. of Harrisburg, Pa., asked the board last Thursday to accept its proposal for $4.4 million in energy-conservation upgrades across the district. The company said the self-funded project could save an additional nearly $1 million during the next 15 years by making system improvements.

It was a modified version of McClure's original proposal that won support from the entire board Tuesday.

The board agreed to move forward with HVAC upgrades at Fairview Elementary, Summitview Elementary and Waynesboro Area Middle School and retrofitted lighting at all academic buildings.

A shared geothermal energy source for Summitview and the middle school as well as upgrades at the Clayton Avenue administrative building were cut from the project.

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Shayne Homan of the McClure Co. said the board had options when it came to the proposed geothermal well field, including tapping into the Waynesboro Area Senior High School geothermal field after the warranty has expired.

The field at the newly renovated high school heats and cools the building by looping water underground.

Grants and low-interest loans also might be available, which would help reduce the amount the district would need to finance for the system, Homan said.

Waiting to install a geothermal well field reduced how much the district would finance from $4.4 million to $3.68 million, he said.

McClure also proposed a significantly reduced proposal to the board that only included lighting retrofitting and replacement of the Fairview air handler, chiller and boiler.

Director Billie Finn said she spent time last week talking with McClure representatives and suggested that the board hold off on the geothermal part of the project and on upgrades to the administrative building, but move forward with the remainder of the proposal.

"We have sick buildings in this district. We have a golden opportunity, I feel, to address this in a timely manner," board member Pat Heefner said previously.

The Clayton Avenue building, Finn said, did not present a need great enough to incur debt, a point on which the board agreed. What the building needed could be done without financing, she said.

Preliminary budget figures for maintenance of the current system indicate enough money in the budget to offset payments for all the upgrades, Lemley said.

Business Administrator Caroline Dean said the line items in the budget would change to fund the project upfront but the numbers will remain the same.

Homan asked the board for at least a notice to proceed that would move the project forward.

"We are getting the same thing, the only thing we are not getting is the geothermal," Lemley said.

Director Firmadge Crutchfield, who previously questioned the contract with McClure, said Tuesday he was satisfied with the contract and Board Solicitor James Flower's revisions.

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