Elk Lake, SCCTC approve energy programs

BY PAT FARNELLI

The combined Elk Lake and Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center school board gave approval Thursday to a specific Energy Savings Plan option proposed by Johnson Controls.

The board also approved initiating the bond process for a loan, and using capital from both schools to finance the project.

Elk Lake will borrow nearly $4.9 million, at an interest rate of three percent the loan will cost $6.8 million over its life.

The board also approved a total capital contribution of $702,120; Elk Lake School District will contribute $491,562 and the SCCTC will contribute $210,558.

According to a project cost analysis provided to the board and administrators by Nick Scracic, of Johnson Controls, much of the project cost will be used for an HVAC “like for like” retrofit for the secondary school building, estimated at $3,223,638. The boiler plant will be retrofitted from oil to natural gas as its primary fuel, at a cost of $1,022,971.

The first year of utility savings for the boiler upgrade is estimated at $97,037; and the utility savings realized in the first year for the secondary building upgrade is projected as $111,525.

The total performance period savings is estimated at $4,284,372 for the secondary building’s upgrade.

The SCCTC’s B building equipment conversion from propane to natural gas is expected to cost $16,339, with a first year’s savings of $11,346. This HVAC equipment conversion should save the career center $467,364 by the end of the performance period.

An MAU, commercial range hood, replacement for the kitchen in the SCCTC’s A Building will cost $144,718.

Upgrades to the building envelope will cost $144,907, saving $9,304 in the first year and $203,161 by the end of the total performance period.

Lighting retrofitting from T12 to T8 and from incandescent to LED lighting will cost $188,686, and will save $17,837 in utility costs in the first year, gain back $9,304 in rebates, and save $464,932 over the total performance period.

In addition, occupancy sensors for lighting will be added, as well as pneumatic to DDC conversion in the primary school and SCCTC A buildings. Plug load controls, walk in box controllers, kitchen hood controllers, and mechanical insulation will be added as well.

The total 20 year performance period savings is estimated as $8,929,297. The energy project’s savings over that time is projected as $2.3 million, after the payback of the project loan.

“I’m very optimistic about getting a very strong rating for this district,” said Les Bear of R.W. Baird Inc., the company issuing the bonds. The bond prices and interest rates will available by Feb. 19, in time for the project to commence, and rates are very favorable at this time, Bear said.

The project depends upon the availability of utility natural gas to the schools.

Leatherstocking Gas Company has committed to supplying the campus with natural gas by December 2014, or will make restitution if it cannot. A temporary propane tank will be installed by the opening of the next school year, Superintendent William Bush noted.

It is also conceivable that a trench line from the Church Compressor Station nearby can be installed, with a possible compressor and dehydration station on the district property, if necessary, Bush said.

In the principals’ reports section on the agenda, it was announced that a regular school day would be scheduled for Monday, Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) to make up for a snow day. Graduation will be held on June 14.

A letter was received from Kim Hollister, business manager, regarding her intention to retire at the end of the 2013-14 school year, which was accepted, with regret, by the board as well as a mention of the high quality of her job performance over the years.

The board granted permission to post a school counselor position. Several new SCCTC staff members or instructors were hired. Heather Charles was hired as welding instructor; Tina Decker was hired for the LPN/special projects secretary position. Three LPN clinical supervisors were hired: Christopher Drake, Rebecca Drost, and Donna Brigham. Robyn Welch was hired for an associate’s position.