Eight years after entering into an energy savings contract with Harshaw Trane, Webster County Board members heard a second approval from the organization on Monday night.

On September 4, 2012 school board officials entered into a 20 year contract with Lexington based Trane for a performance-based guaranteed energy savings project. The contract included many energy and maintenance saving technologies and upgrades, including new HVAC units at Sebree Elementary.

The project also guaranteed an annual savings of $108,023.

The total cost of that project was $2.9 million, with the district bonding $98,000. That bonded amount was the total “out of pocket” expense to the district, with the remaining balance coming out of the yearly guaranteed savings.

District officials have praised the project as a success.

On Monday, Trane proposed doing a stage two project, which would focus primarily on bringing more clean air into the district’s buildings.

The company recently performed a full assessment of the county’s four elementary schools, the high school, the middle school, the annex, the board office and the field house at the football field. Facilities were ranked by their status for ventilation equipment, exhaust, air humidity levels and air filtering equipment.

Resoundingly the assessment showed a need for improvement in the air filtering area. Trane officials said that Webster County uses a standard MERV 4 filter, which allows particles smaller than 3.0 to 10.0 microns to pass. They added that the current recommendation was to use a MERV 13 filter, which blocks particles smaller than 1.0 to 3.0 microns.

The virus that causes the coronavirus ranges from 0.06 to 1.4 microns, meaning the MERV 13 could block some COVID-19 particles, where the MERV 4 does not.

Trane officials proposed a new $2.1 million project, which would require the board to bond $137,000. That project includes a new HVAC unit at Providence, as well as bringing equipment across the district up to MERV 13 compatible units.

However, the district currently has higher bonding potential than the proposed $137,000. Members asked for more options, including higher a higher pay in from the district.

“We definitely have a need,” said board chairman Mickey Dunbar. “All we can do is what we’ve done in the past, prioritize needs and do the best we can. We already give our students the best teachers possile, now we need to give them the best environment possible.”

Trane agreed to prepare a number of options for the district to review at an upcoming board meeting.

In other business, it was announced on Monday that the US Department of Education was not expected to grant waivers this school year to excuse districts from having to participate in annual state assessment testing.

This year students are scheduled to take KPrep testing between May 7 and May 27.

There are also three dates scheduled for ACT testing. The primary testing day will be March 9, with a make-up date on March 23. Emergency testing will follow on April 13.

Contact Matt Hughes at matt@journalenterprise.com or 270-667-2069

Contact Matt Hughes at matt@journalenterprise.com or 270-667-2069