Baldwin Students and staff at Baldwin High School won't have to dress for the elements when they return to school this fall. The Baldwin school board decided this week to replace the 27-year-old heating and cooling system in the school, said Supt. John Nuspl.
The board hired Peak Street Energy, a Baldwin consulting firm, to draft plans for a new system and call for bids to replace the five roof units that control the school's temperature. The existing system never has worked properly and has cost the district thousands of dollars for maintenance every year, he said.
Peak Street Energy has estimated the cost of replacing the units at about $200,000. Nuspl said the board voted to use money from the capital outlay fund to help pay for the new units, which will be acquired through a lease-purchase agreement.
Board members also approved replacement of the school's outdated lighting with energy-efficient fluorescent lights for about $30,000. Nuspl said the lights actually will enable the district to install smaller heating and cooling units because the system won't have to compensate for heat emanated by the inefficient lights.
The two projects will save the school district up to $21,000 a year just in energy costs, Nuspl said.
Although the district recently received a $13,500 federal grant to fund half the cost of replacing one unit, Nuspl said the money won't be put to use. "There are some provisions with which you have to comply that would do a number of derogatory things," he said.
For example, the grant restricts the district to accepting the lowest bidder, even if the company cannot provide the most energy- and cost-efficient system. Also, the total project would cost more if one unit is replaced separately, he said.
The board also will encourage local companies to bid on the projects, something that wasn't allowed under the grant requirements.
Nuspl said work on both projects will take place over the summer.
In other business at Monday's meeting, the board:
Discussed redrawing board district boundaries to accommodate population shifts. Nuspl said the board must designate the new boundaries by October for next year's school board election.
Discussed the district's facility needs. The 16-member facilities committee will present the board with several options in April, and the board will conduct a mail survey of district patrons to determine how to best resolve space problems in the schools.
Approved a new three-year contract for Nuspl.