School board to consider bids to make elementary schools energy-efficient

Saturday, October 6, 2007 | 4:39 p.m. CDT; updated 1:26 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 4, 2008

COLUMBIA — Columbia School Board members will consider whether to approve energy-efficient building upgrades of five of the district’s elementary schools during its meeting Monday night.

Custom Energy, an architectural engineering company hired by the district, has completed the audit, design and bidding process needed to begin energy upgrades on Benton, Blue Ridge, Fairview, Parkade and Boulevard elementary schools.

The upgrades, if approved, are expected to be completed by the end of the 2008-2009 school year, at a total cost of $14,558,925, according to the agenda.

“We’re anticipating board approval, and these projects will be started immediately,” said Chester Edwards, the district’s director of building services.

According to the agenda, district staff and Custom Energy evaluated the bids and selected the best firms for the jobs based on experience, bid and qualifications.

Edwards said part of the focus is to try to get the best long-term lifespan and lowest energy cost for the buildings.

Custom Energy’s proposal includes recommendations for the board to consider installing ground-source heating and cooling systems, which would pump treated water through ground wells to extract heat from the ground.

“(Ground-source heating and cooling) is the most energy efficient on the market for major buildings,” Edwards said. “Over the long haul, this is the best investment for the school district.”

Roof and window replacements were also recommended in the proposal for four of the five schools.

“We will only be doing the sections that need replacements,” said Edwards, who explained that sections of the roofs are still in working condition.

Parkade Elementary has already had sections of its roof replaced, he said.

Four of the five schools will also have window replacements. Benton Elementary’s windows have already been replaced.

Replacing the windows will reduce costs that come with adding air conditioning to schools, Edwards said. Adding air conditioning to a school without first replacing its windows can increase operating costs dramatically, he said.

During the meeting, the school board will also consider the approval of student transportation routes as required by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regulations.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the district’s administration building at 1818 W. Worley St.

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