WCS approves $1.3 million energy-saving project

WARRENSBURG - In a split vote of 4 to 2, the Warrensburg Board of Education approved a $1.3 million project Nov. 8 to install new energy management systems at its elementary and high schools. The installations are expected to maximize the efficiency of the buildings' heating, lighting and ventilation systems.

The upgrades are expected to save the school district at least $83,000 per year in utility expenses at present day costs, Superintendent of School Tim Lawson said.

The project is to be financed for 10 years, and the loan payments to the Power Authority will be approximately $157,000 per year - which represents an interest rate of less than 1 percent. During the life of the loan, state aid of $120,000 is expected to refund all but $37,000 annually in the debt service cost.

The net savings to the district is expected to be about $46,000 per year, or $460,000 over the span of the loan, if utility costs don't increase.

The project involves replacement of standard lights to high-efficiency fluorescent lights and installation of a new computer-controlled heating and ventilation management system in the elementary and high school buildings.

At both those buildings, the existing computerized systems, installed in the mid 1990s, are now non-functional, Lawson said. The systems are now manually controlled.

Steve Harrington of the Power Authority told board members 80 other school districts statewide, including Ballston Spa and Albany, have implemented the systems and are saving money annually.

School board president John MicGlire, who voted for the proposal, expressed concern whether the annual state aid anticipated to offset capital costs would indeed continue for the full 10 years, considering recent years' cuts in state school funding.

School Board members Richlene Morey and Linda Marcella-Baker voted against the $1.3 million project. Board member Jim Carrion was absent.

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