Energy savings for Polk Schools 

Published 10:10 am Monday, March 25, 2019

Commissioners considering resolution for school system 


COLUMBUS—The Polk County Board of Commissioners is being asked by Polk County Schools to approve a resolution in support of an energy savings contract and to agree to maintain the current level of school funding for operations.  

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Commissioners met Monday and heard from Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene and Technology/Accountability Director David Scherping 

The school system is proposing to take out a $2.3 million loan for 18 years to complete capital improvements. The construct costs are estimated at $1.6 million with an annual savings on energy costs of $162,000.  

Greene reviewed some of the aging buildings, including the “new” high school, which is now 30 years old.  

Polk Central was built in 1959; Saluda was built in 1936; Sunny View was built in 1956; Tryon was built in 1922; Forbes in 1985; the middle school in 2005; the high school in 1992; Stearns in 1917; the maintenance shop in 1950 and the bus garage in 2007.  

Polk County Schools has 550,000 square feet of infrastructure.  

Greene spoke of changing out lighting with LED lighting, which costs less to operate.  

Scherping said Sunny View has a boiler that’s been there since 1955. He also said the middle school is the most controlled building as it is one of the newest.  

Scherping also said they want to do water conservation upgrades at the buildings to cut down on the amount of water used as well as door seals on all buildings.  

Greene said the school system has a lot of paving needs as well as staffing needs.  

“It is a way for us to address some of our capital needs,” Greene said. “It may help us attack some of the needs we have over the next three to five years.”  

County commissioners will consider a resolution next month to agree to continue to give the school system the same amount of funding, even though they will see savings in energy costs with the upgrades. The school system will use the savings to pay back the loan, and is hoping to get a lower interest rate to pay back the loan early.