The White River School District will receive an energy grant of almost of $960,000 from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
White River is one of 28 districts that were collectively awarded $20 million for school facility energy efficiency improvements, according to a Thursday announcement made by OSPI.
The award is part of a $40 million commitment by the state Legislature to help schools produce long-term energy and operational savings, improve the indoor environmental qualities of schools and help stimulate construction-industry jobs in the state.
To qualify for the funds, school districts conducted an audit of their school facilities to identify projects that would yield energy savings and be most beneficial. Districts used performance contracting, in which the contractor guarantees the energy savings. All of the projects are required to measure and verify the energy savings.
White River will use $450,000 from its Capital Fund for the projects to bring the total to approximately $1.4 million.
District Business Manager Mona Moan said the timing for the grant is perfect. The district recently finished up a facilities audit pointing out work needing to be done on the district buildings.
“Money has been pretty tight and we haven’t been able to do the things we’ve wanted to do,” Moan said.
Primary projects include interior and exterior lighting at the 10-year-old White River High School, Glacier Middle School and Foothills Elementary School, as well as work at WRHS gymnasium, a boiler and control upgrades at GMS and control upgrades at Foothills.
“One of these buildings had a DOS operating system, that’s how old it was,” Moan said.
Foothills Elementary School was built in 1987, while Glacier Middle School is a hodgepodge of buildings from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘90s.
District officials applied for the grant in the fall, partnering with Schneider Electric of Seattle, who will be performing the work and following up to make sure the district gets the savings anticipated from the upgrades.
“We are guaranteed a certain amount of savings with these upgrades,” Moan said.