Energy-saving project proposed for schools


Local schools could see a boost in energy efficiency under a proposed project.

Grand Coulee Dam School District Superintendent Dennis Carlson was instructed by the board at its late February meeting to work with McKinstry, an energy company, to pursue incentives and a grant to improve lighting and controls in its three schools.

Jayson Schmidt and Mike James, from McKinstry, made presentations at the board meeting about a grant from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to bring energy savings to the district.

The project could result in replacing outdated and energy- excessive light fixtures and controls and save the district enough money to at least partially pay for the cost.

OSPI has set aside $20 million for special needs districts and already 30 districts have submitted applications for a grant.

The Grand Coulee Dam School District had indicated at an earlier meeting its interest in submitting a grant request for about $600,000.

Schmidt stated to the board that it might want to cut the amount it is asking for because there were so many districts seeking the funds.

Carlson will work with McKinstry to investigate any possible incentives awarded by Bonneville Power Administration in energy savings projects.

The school district’s Lake Roosevelt High School is served by the town of Coulee Dam, which brokers power from BPA. The district’s other two schools, Center Elementary and the Grand Coulee Dam Middle School are served by Grant County PUD.

Special emphasis will be placed on facilities that will remain if and when the district builds new schools.

The board asked that the industrial arts building be left out of the equation except for that portion where welding is done. The ventilation system near that activity will be included in the project.

District officials hope that through the combination of incentives, the grant and non-voter approved funds voted by the board would be enough to do a major part of the project.

The estimate of cost was a little over $1 million, according to the McKinstry report.

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