Cleveland school board approves energy plan

Posted 10/31/17

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG

Staff Writer

The Cleveland Board of Education has voted unanimously to pursue a series of school renovations which will include everything from HVAC system replacements to …

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Cleveland school board approves energy plan

Posted

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG

Staff Writer

The Cleveland Board of Education has voted unanimously to pursue a series of school renovations which will include everything from HVAC system replacements to water conservation measures. 

Board members voted to partner with a company called Energy Systems Group to undertake a series of renovations totaling $8,214,794. 

This option was the second of three options presented to the board, ranging in cost from $7,660,937 to $9,450,295. 

“I have had the chance to be part of lots of discussions with ESG,” said Director of Schools Dr. Russell Dyer. “We feel like we’re looking at three good options here.” 

The board chose to go with “Plan B,” which includes HVAC replacements at E.L. Ross Elementary and Yates Primary; new boilers at Blythe-Bower Elementary; various equipment replacements at Cleveland High; new windows at Cleveland High, Stuart Elementary and the administrative office building; new LED lighting in all buildings; new electrical control systems; new energy-efficient toilets; upgrades to the F.I. Denning Center’s swimming pool; and more. 

The more expensive option would have included more window replacements, while the less-expensive option would have omitted some of the HVAC work. 

The goal of all these changes is to address items which are reaching the end of their useful life, while also saving money. 

“We do believe any scope of work that you pick is going to make a big difference for your operating costs,” said ESG representative Russ Nelson. 

Nelson said the school district can expect to save about $295,006 each year on operating and maintenance costs, a savings of about 25 percent. He stressed these changes will eventually pay for themselves.

The idea of this plan is similar to one recently undertaken by Bradley County Schools, which spent some $16.2 million on a variety of upgrades while working with ESG. 

The vote to partner with ESG came amid discussions  about Cleveland City Schools’ five-year capital plan. Hal Taylor, director of operations for the school district, had noted that some measures, such as the HVAC replacements, could not be covered within the next five years given the current budget. 

This ESG plan would involve pursuing financing to tackle the needed work. The board also voted Tuesday to “begin discussions with” Bank of America to help fund this project. Of the financing options presented to the board, this bank had the lowest interest rate. 

The next step will be for school system staff to work on creating a plan to present to the Cleveland City Council, which has to approve such outside financing measures.

“This is an exciting idea,” said Dawn Robinson, the board’s chairman. “I look forward to seeing what the council has to say.” 

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