Heating system upgrade at Belpre

BELPRE – The Belpre City Schools District Board of Education was given an update on the heating system upgrade project at the high school during the meeting Monday.

“The HVAC project has been completed at the high school,” said Superintendent Tony Dunn. “All of the furnace units have been installed and we are currently working to finish the rest of the work.”

This continuing work includes installing drop ceilings in the building to help conserve energy, upgrading lighting, energy controls and mechanical upgrades. The work has included 14 individual energy-efficient heating units for the building.

“The project is expected to be completed and closed out in January,” Dunn said. “It’s going to come fast.”

During a special meeting in July, the board approved the use of Ohio House Bill 264, also known as the Ohio School Facilities Energy Conservation Program, which allows the district to authorize the bonds to upgrade the high school’s heating system.

The project is estimated to cost $557,703 without interest and $722,865 with an estimated interest of 3.65 percent, according to Energy Optimizers, a company that specializes in cost-cutting energy savings for schools and commercial and industrial facilities.

The annual estimated savings will be $56,185 with payments of $3,950 a month, or $47,400 annually, Dunn said.

The loan will be paid back over 15 years at a little less than $50,000 annually.

“When this is all said and done, it will not cost us more than we are already spending because we are paying for the upgrades with our savings,” Dunn said.

To show off the work completed and allow the community to see what is being done, an open house will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28 at the high school.

“With the drop ceilings not yet finished, will be able to see the work in progress,” Dunn said.

“We want to bring the community in to see the $700,000 project realized.”

In other business:

* Belpre High School physical science teacher Wendy Calaway told the board about the greenhouse project the school and community organizations are working to build.

“The greenhouse will be used by science classes for all grades at the high school campus, including biology, environmental science and even lifestyle skill classes,” Calaway said.

“Working with and observing the plants they grow, students will receive hands-on experience and develop job skills.”

The school has support from the Belpre High School Alumni Association, Belpre Rotary, Bob’s Market and Greenhouse and the Ohio Department of Health.

“If we grow vegetables to be served in the cafeteria, we will receive a grant from the Ohio Department of Health and the students will be able to see their friends and classmates enjoy the fruits of their labor,” said Belpre High School Principal Dennis Eichinger.

The project has accumulated $40,000, but it is not enough with the greenhouse kit alone expected to cost as much as $20,000.

“This is an ability to truly engage our students,” Eichinger said. “I think it will be a really, really exciting thing for all of our kids.”

* Monday marked the final meeting for temporary district treasurer Janine Satterfield, who joined Belpre in August after former treasurer Eva Elliott left. In September, the board unanimously approved to hire Melissa S. Griffith, an assistant treasurer in Chillicothe, on a two-year and nine-month contract.

“It has been a great district to be a part of,” Satterfield said after board president Leonard Wiggins and Dunn thanked her for stepping in.