School utilities to get $2 million upgrade

Patrick Yost News

The Morgan County Board of Education Monday voted unanimously to give Superintendent Dr. James Woodard authorization to complete a nearly $2 million contract to upgrade heating and air conditioning, lighting and other energy devices within the system.

The contract with Georgia Power includes new heating and air conditioning for the entire Morgan County Elementary School at a cost of $866,765; new LED lights at Morgan County Elementary at a cost of $182,758; new lighting at Morgan County Primary School at a cost of $207,777 and lighting for a sports practice under construction ($154,501) and a current baseball practice field ($149,500).

“The Energy Conservation program will allow the Morgan County Charter School System to improve energy infrastructure through guaranteed energy savings,” said Woodard.  “The program is coordinated through Georgia Power.  We will be consolidating electrical metering, adding LED lights at elementary/primary/BOE office,  adding sports lighting on new practice fields and replacing the HVAC at the elementary school.This program is a great opportunity to create energy savings and re-invest those savings in critical energy systems upgrades.”

The project, which the board has been examining for several months, comes with a host of rebates and projected energy savings. According to Georgia Power’s Matthew Otani, projected annual savings after the construction and installation of energy efficient equipment will be $196,332. The school system will also be credited more than $60,000 in rebates from Georgia Power, Otani said.

The Morgan County Elementary School heating and air system is 30 years old, Otani said. “This is basically a full system replacement.”

Officials hope to have the work at the elementary school complete by opening day for the new school year. However, if the work is not complete they have created a contingency plan that will continue to use existing equipment to cool the school.

Morgan County Board of Education Chairman Nelson Hale said the school was hoping to complete the upgrades at a break even point from savings and rebates. However, the school is negotiating financing for the program through Wells Fargo at a cost of $49,394 per year.

“It’s got to be replaced,” Hale said. “We are hoping to be close to breaking even but we’re looking at a $49,000 cost.”

However, Otani said, once the work at the new high school is completed, Georgia Power is going to funnel electrical consumption at the high school, elementary school and primary school through a single meter. An increase in use through the meter will drive down costs of individual kilowatt hours, he said.

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