School Board forges ahead with building work

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Daniel Haffel of Johnson Controls outlined plans fore energy projects it guaranteed would  save more money than it costs to implement changes to the school building.

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Daniel Haffel of Johnson Controls outlined plans for energy projects it guaranteed would save more money than it costs to implement changes to the school building.

The Shelter Island Board of Education gave the go-ahead Monday night to McClave Engineering of Bohemia to start work on the design of a new heating and ventilation system for the school.

The BOE intends to pay for the extensive project by floating a $1.6 million bond in September.

At the same time that the BOE expects to sign a contract with McClave in July, it plans to sign a performance contract with Connecticut-based Johnson

Controls for projects guaranteed to save the district money in energy costs.

With the State Education Department backed up reviewing plans from districts for construction projects, allowing the design work to begin now will eventually save time — providing voters give the bond an OK in September. And if the bond fails, the district would have to find some other way to finance the project Superintendent Michael Hynes called “non-negotiable.”

That’s because the school’s heating system failed last year, initially forcing building and maintenance workers Mike Dunning and Greg Sulahian to spell one another around the clock to keep the system working. The board approved installation of new controls for $55,000 that now allows the men to make changes via computer. But the board has agreed with Dr. Hynes that the antiquated system is sorely in need of replacement.

The plan calls for upgrades to the boiler room and steam radiator replacements with unit ventilators, new zone pumps and piping and two hydronic boilers and accessories; mechanical upgrades to three rooms that have no heating and ventilation systems; installation of a 2-ton cooling split system for the computer room; and replacement of a fuel oil tank with an alarm system and piping, Patrick McClave said. The project also includes repointing of masonry.

Mr. McClave pointed out that the State Education Department, which must approve the work, is on a 26-week or more lead time. He estimates that if the district waits until it signs a contract with McClave in July, and then further delays until a September bond vote, it would be losing important lead time. The state allows design plans to be developed in advance of its approval process, he said.

The BOE will move forward with an energy saving performance contract with Johnson Controls that will work in conjunction with McClave Engineering. Plans on that part of the project call for an expenditure of $1.069 million, but the cost will be paid for in energy savings each year, Daniel Haffel said.

He explained, for example, that while the Board would have to approve an expenditure of $75,503 each year for the work, it would actually net more than $14,000 more than that amount based on a $59,516 per year energy savings; energy rebates of $20,000; New York State aid of $7,522; and savings of $4,477 in operations and management costs. The contract with Johnson Controls calls for a full payback over 16.8 years.

The project will encompass improvements in lighting, building winterization, energy management via computers to maximize savings, installation of window films that block the sun’s heat on hot days and protect from winter cold, installation of plug load controls and solar panels.

Johnson Controls guarantees the district will save more in energy costs than it expends for the changes and if that fails to happen, the company eats the difference.

“It’s a great guarantee,” Mr. Haffel said.

He targeted November 2015 as a completion date, but said if the State Education Department is slower in giving approval, his crew can work nights and weekends instead of next summer to complete the work.