Project will help WRV save money in long run
SWITZ CITY -- By the time school starts next fall, the energy costs for the White River Valley Junior/Senior High School building should be significantly lower thanks to a new, and better-insulated, roof and a high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning system that will be installed over the summer.
Superintendent Layton Wall says this project is a big-ticket item but the federal 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going to give the project a financial boost in the form of a low-interest rate from the Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) Program.
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, Chairman of the Indiana Bond Bank (IBB), recently announced that over $67 million in financing would be available to 28 local school corporations through the IBB's QSCB Program with interest rates of 1.52-1.77 percent.
The QSCB Program allows the IBB to issue tax credit bonds for schools which they can use to upgrade their facilities, to include cooling systems, roof replacements and environmental upgrades.
"We applied for $1,975,000. Several schools applied, and we were lucky enough to get it," said Wall.
Wall said the corporation is mortgage-free -- it was paid off two years ago, has a very small amount of debt, and the low-interest rate to finance this project is extremely good news.
"This will help keep our tax rate down and the way it will do that: We have a round of pension-debt bonds that will be paid off this year and the amount we'll be paying (for this project) is much less than what we've been paying on these pension-debt bonds, and at a whole heck of a lot less interest," said Wall.
"We knew this had to be done. This building is no longer new. We have some leaks, we've got some buckets, and we've been spending a little more on maintenance. When it is done, we'll have better climate control, a lighter load on our maintenance department, and we don't have to borrow the money at 5-6 percent."
The corporation will have 15 years to repay and will make annual payments of approximately $159,000.
Wall said the savings on heating and air-conditioning expenses, as well as maintenance, will be welcome.
"We have a contract for this project (with Performance Services of Indianapolis) guaranteeing reductions in cost," said Wall. "We're guaranteed a minimum of $225,000 in energy savings over 10 years."
Virgil Jackson, building maintenance director, said the metal roof, which dates back to the early 1980s plus a 1989 addition, has some damage, rust and a few leaks.
"The majority of the project will start right after school's out this spring and it will cut down on costs," said Jackson. "Our old system is inefficient. The north corner has always been cold.
Jackson said the building currently has three boilers and they're not very efficient.
"One will be taken out completely and the other two will become backups," said Jackson. "Two new boilers will be added for a total of four. The two new ones are high-efficiency boilers, and the new roof will be better insulated."
Wall said at the completion of the project, the corporation should be in good shape in terms of roofing.
"The roof on the Worthington building was replaced last year and the roof on the Lyons building was replaced three or four years ago," said Wall.
Because a lot of extra time and effort was involved in applying and getting approval for the QSCB Program, Wall said several people deserved recognition for their work including Administrative Secretary Kim Downey and former Superintendent Steve Campbell.
"I also want to recognize the board members who serve on the WRV School Building Corporation -- Dr. Don A. Steward, Mike Stewart, Marco Brown, Chuck Strickler, Amos Musselman and John Brown," said Wall.