Ore City board looking at options on middle school gym
by VIC PARKER
Jun 23, 2014 | 1184 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Killing two birds with one stone may be an overused adage, but it may apply for the Ore City school board as it seeks ways — and funding — to either repair or replace the old middle school gymnasium.

The other bird is the installation of systems to improve the efficiency of heat and air units, indoor and outdoor lighting and other factors district-wide. The stone is a combined approach dealing with both by the Irving firm of Climatec, which made the proposal at the board’s regular meeting Monday evening.

The board has been looking at renovating the gym built in 1957 with a combination of loan proceeds and fund balance monies. Price tag for the effort is about $1.1 million. At a workshop session earlier this month, trustees indicated a desire to move ahead with a renovation project. The total for razing the existing structure and building a new one is more than $3 million.

Discussion during that meeting focused on a low-interest loan the district would repay over seven years with annual payments of about $80,000.

Climatec’s basic pitch to the board was a 15-year program of upgrades at a cost of about $991,000. According to the firm’s figures, there would be a first-year savings - in such areas as utilities costs - of almost $86,000 that would satisfy a lease payment of about $85,000. During the life of the program, savings are estimated at more than $1.3 million based on a total utility cost reduction of 28 percent.

By adding the gym to the effort, the term would increase to 20 years with funds provided by the federal Qualified Zone Academic Bond at an interest rate as low as three-quarters of a percent. The $1 million cost would add about $22,000 to the current operating budget.

The Irving firm calculated that a lower interest rate on a 20-year note would cost the district about $107,000 a year, compared with about $85,000 on a 15-year plan. The energy savings combined with the $22,000 would pay for the entire project.

Climatec’s proposal includes a guarantee that if the advertised savings don’t occur, it will give the district a check for the difference.

Supt. Lynn Heflin told trustees there would “be an advantage to tying the two” projects together, and the board approved a resolution to move ahead on the effort with the next step a detailed analysis, finalization of financing and submission of a contract for review by the board at its July meeting.

The company’s original proposal included high-efficiency HVAC upgrades, interior and exterior lighting retrofits, occupancy based HVAC controls, exterior lighting control, water conservation fixtures, a diesel fueling station which would allow the district to purchase diesel fuel at wholesale prices and computerized power management.

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