Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2007

Board considers energy savings

August 16, 2007

Although the $45 million school bond referendum is more than two months away and potential construction is even further off, the Eudora USD 491 Board of Education is already looking at ways to save energy in its new buildings.

Board members are doing so by looking into the possibility of entering into a performance contract with TAC of America Inc. for design, construction and maintenance of a proposed elementary school's cooling and heating systems.

Eudora Schools Superintendent Marty Kobza brought the board up to date on discussions with TAC Thursday during the board's regularly scheduled meeting.

By entering into the performance contract, the district will reap a guaranteed energy savings, Kobza said.

The company estimated a contract for the services at $4.2 million. The total is more than what bond architect DLR Group originally estimated for the project.

District officials designed the bond with TAC's potential price tag in mind, Kobza said.

Despite the difference in estimates, the district would be spending the same amount per square foot on the new chool in HVAC costs as it did in past projects, Kobza said.

"I just wanted you to know as a board that this is going to cost more initially," Kobza said.

One reason the TAC contract is more expensive is because the company won't skimp in the design stages, TAC representative Joe Hurla said. The group also includes a fee for commission and overhead, he said.

TAC has worked with the district to fix construction flaws in its current buildings and has saved the district money in each, Hurla said.

Less than thorough early designs are part of the reason TAC had to come into the district in the first place, Hurla said.

"We've built three buildings since 1994, and we've gone back in every one of them," Kobza said.

In early planning stages, the district wanted TAC to take care of both the HVAC and plumbing systems for the proposed school.

After further discussion, the district is considering TAC for HVAC needs only, Kobza said.

Plumbing isn't an aspect of the building process that TAC focuses on, Hurla said.

"That's not something with our design or our implementation that we can guarantee that is going to be able to really help you out," Hurla said.

The cost of the performance contract would be wrapped into the bond and subject to a 38-percent state aid given to the district to help with bonded indebtedness.

Board member Brenda Clark said she supported the performance contract in light of the district's past issues.

Board member Kenny Massey also supported the contract.

"It's unfortunate the specs don't always meet the standard you expect them to, but that's the world we live in, but I'm in favor of this," Massey said.

The board reached a consensus to move forward in talks with TAC.

An official package should be back before the board in September.

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