June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

Cloverleaf Schools spends $1.2 million on energy upgrades

WESTFIELD TWP. — Cloverleaf Schools has upgraded boilers and lighting in several buildings to allow for yearly savings on energy costs.

The $1.2 million project was completed last month through a contract with Ameresco, a company that specializes in energy efficiency.

Jeff Metcalf, Ohio regional director for Ameresco, said the school district borrowed the money to cover the cost, and the project will be paid for over 15-years through savings on gas and electricity.

The upgrades are expected to produce $102,000 in savings each year, he said. “If they didn’t do this,” Metcalf said, “They would have had to find a way to come up with cash.”

The project included: occupancy-sensing light switches, lighting upgrades, building control system upgrades and boiler replacements. Much of the equipment needed to be replaced was reaching the end of its life, Metcalf said.

Four district facilities received upgrades: high school, middle school, recreation center and the transportation center and bus garage.

Metcalf described the project as “budget-neutral.” The school board approved the contract with Ameresco in September 2011.

Ameresco guarantees the cost of the equipment will be covered through energy savings, according to a statement from the company.

“In these tight fiscal times, we are always looking for the best solutions to enhance our facilities and the quality of student life without putting our budget under even more strain,” Cloverleaf Superintendent Daryl Kubilus said in a prepared statement. “We hired Ameresco based on its successful track record of working with schools and communities throughout the country, and we have been very pleased with the results of the partnership.”

Cloverleaf faces financial challenges. The district is in fiscal emergency, a state designation it received in January, and its financial decisions are now overseen by a five-member state commission. Cloverleaf has a 6.9-mill, 10-year additional emergency operating levy on the November ballot, which, if approved, would raise $3.3 million each year for 10 years.

Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.