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Energy Plan For Schools Will Proceed

Claremont — The school district plans to sign a contract today with Johnson Controls for installation of energy-saving equipment at six city schools, David Putnam, chairman of the Stevens High Renovation Committee said after Wednesday’s committee meeting.

At the same meeting, Steve Horton, the district’s liaison on the $12.6 million Stevens High School renovation project, provided additional good news.

Horton told the committee that subcontracting bids, including $1.3 million in electrical work and $2.7 million in mechanical and plumbing work, came in within budget, leaving the district with a $500,000 cushion and $220,000 in contingency for the general contractor, Trumbull Nelson.

“To come out with these kinds of numbers is very heartening,” Horton said. “With Johnson Controls and this, I think we are in very good shape.”

Putnam said the district’s lender, Oppenheimer & Co., has provided a “letter of intent” to finance the $3.6 million energy efficiency project.

Putnam said Johnson Controls will begin to line up subcontractors and order material but emphasized the company is doing so at its own risk because the school district has no financial obligation until the financing is in place — closing is scheduled for Oct. 29 — and a “letter to proceed” is issued by the lender.

“That is in the contract,” Putnam said.

The current term sheet on the 20-year loan carries an interest rate of 5.95 percent, Putnam said. The estimated net savings over the life of the loan, above the annual payments, is between $450,000 and $550,000.

Johnson Control’s energy-performance contract guarantees that the reduction of energy costs for the district will more than cover the loan payments for the equipment each year.

Between the renovation project and the separate energy efficiency program, all four sides of Stevens will receive new windows and upgraded insulation.

The school district had struggled for months to find financing for the energy efficiency project, and Putnam said scaling the cost of the project back from nearly $5 million to $3.6 million led to an acceptable financing arrangement.

“Modifying the scope of the work made a huge difference,” he said.

Horton also said the subcontracting bids leave enough money in the $10.9 million Stevens High construction budget to cover an increase in abatement of hazardous material, including asbestos.

“I’m extremely pleased with the results,” he said .

Horton will provide more details on the Stevens renovation, along with recommendations on the bids, to the committee in the coming weeks. He expects to begin awarding contracts next week.

“It will be a tight, safe, warm and secure building,” he said.

The Johnson Controls project includes installation of wood pellet-propane combination boilers at Stevens and the middle school, along with weatherization at all the schools and the conversion from oil to propane heating at the three elementary schools.

Updates will also be made to the technical college.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.

CORRECTION

The SAU 6 School Board is considering a proposal from Oppenheimer & Co. to finance a $3.6 million energy-savings project at Stevens High School. The company has been misidentified in recent stories this fall.