Energy-saving work on track at Gillett schools

Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: taxonomy_term in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 518 of /home/octimesherald/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 0 in similarterms_list() (line 221 of /home/octimesherald/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in similarterms_list() (line 222 of /home/octimesherald/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
Roofs and HVAC upgrades in progress

Building materials await installation at Gillett schools for work scheduled for completion by the start of the new school year. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Work on a variety of energy-saving projects at Gillett Public Schools has been progressing more or less on schedule through the summer.

“We meet as a group every two weeks with Chris Deleeuw from Honeywell to make sure we’re on track with all our projects,” Superintendent Todd Carlson told the School Board at its July 19 meeting. Deleeuw is the project manager who has shepherded a number of upgrades at Gillett schools in recent years.

Building materials, especially roofing material, have been piled in the lot between the elementary and secondary school buildings since shortly after classes broke for the summer. Crews have been working their way down a list that includes roof replacements, insulation and heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades through Focus on Energy.

Replacement of a 20-year-old boiler at the high school was completed in July. Carlson said ventilation and insulation work at the secondary school was expected to wrap up soon, and work at the elementary school was set to be done during August.

Tweet Garot replaced the air conditioning unit serving the high school auditorium in mid-July, when a small “hiccup” was discovered.

“That is a huge piece of equipment that was up on our roof and comes off our roof,” Carlson said. “One of the venting fins was (pointed) left instead of right, and so we have to correct it.”

It was expected to take about 10 days to fabricate a new piece and about three weeks to install it and complete the installation, he said.

“Right now, (the air conditioning is) not working in the auditorium, but it’s not a problem because we don’t use it right now. It’s a good time to be down,” Carlson said.

Crews worked steadily through the summer, even on the Fourth of July and during a stretch of days when temperatures exceeded 90 degrees.

The School Board approved a resolution authorizing the project that was grandfathered under a provision known as Act 32, which allowed districts to obtain an exemption to state-imposed levy limits for energy-saving work through the state’s Focus on Energy conservation program.

The exemption was eliminated with the 2017-19 state budget after a number of districts used the program for some dodgy “energy efficiency” projects, like converting a football field from natural to artificial turf.

Carlson told the board that this summer’s work was a legitimate use of the program for projects that otherwise probably wouldn’t get done.

“I mean, to try to do that within your yearly regular operational budget is extremely hard,” he said. “So to take advantage of the energy efficiency projects was definitely a good direction to go for the district.”