Troy authorizes financing for energy savings
TROY - The Troy Area School District moved forward this week with financing for a district-wide energy savings project and possibly a new administration building.
While the energy savings project has gotten the green light, the board is still mulling whether to go forward with a new administration building to replace the current aging structure on Elmira Street.
At its meeting Tuesday, the board approved a motion to "authorize the necessary actions to complete financing in the approximate amount of $5,500,000 for various energy savings capital improvements and the administration building capital project." General Obligation tax-exempt financing will be used.
District business administrator Traci Gilliland has stated that no tax increase would be required with this funding option.
The energy savings project is with the McClure Co. and has a guaranteed full payback in energy savings over 20 years, according to district superintendent W. Charles Young.
Previously, Young said the energy savings project would affect every building in the district "in one way or another," except the administration building. The most extensive work will be done at W.R. Croman Primary School, according to Young. The school will get a new heating system, replacement of piping, and new boilers.
The board is considering constructing a new administration building rather than putting money into the repairs of the current administration building. One concern is that it requires many repairs. It has been referred to as a "money pit" at board meetings this year.
The financing that was the subject of the board action this week, which will be in the form of a bond issue, will have $1 million set aside for the costs of a new administration building, according to Gilliland.
Gilliland commented on the reason for the financial arrangements that the board is making.
"If the board is committed to the administration building, it makes the most sense financially to roll these projects together and do one borrowing," she stated at the meeting. "You're avoiding a lot of costs, interest rates are low right now, so if it's something we're committed to, my recommendation was to do everything at once."
But what is the certainty of a new administration building in Troy?
When asked by The Daily Review about whether the board was going ahead with a new administration building, board vice president Dan Martin provided an answer that seemed to indicate that nothing final has been decided.
He stated that a new administration building is "not written in stone, but that's where we're headed, probably, yeah."
Asked again about the certainty of such a course of action, he answered that it was "possibly" going to happen.
"We budgeted for that," explained board president Todd Curren.
One person in the audience asked about the feasibility of using the Troy Elementary Center East (TECE) building as an administration building. The school building, located in East Troy, was closed by the district.
Young noted the challenges that would be faced with using TECE for an administration building.
Young said the TECE building is in need of a new heating plant, and this cost was estimated between $1 to $3 million.
"We would love to utilize it, but we would spend more money to turn that into an office building than what we would spend for a new administration building," Curren said.
Martin noted the distance of the TECE building in East Troy from the other school buildings, located in Troy Borough. He noted the importance of having all the buildings, and the people working in them, close together, in case of an emergency.
"We put them in East Troy, they got a few minutes of delay before they get here," Martin said. "So, we're thinking of that as well. There's a lot of things we've got to think about. We haven't made a final decision, totally."
Also, board member Darren Roy noted that there would be technology costs to link the TECE building to the other district buildings in the borough.
Also, TECE would have to be renovated to convert it into an office building, which would be an added cost, according to Gilliland.
Though no decision has been made on any land purchase for a new administration building, Gilliland was able to confirm that the district put in an offer last year for two vacant lots located next to the current administration building that are for sale. She said a counteroffer was made on the land, and that's where the matter was left.
As for the energy savings project and the guaranteed energy savings that will result, it was noted that if the energy savings are not realized, then the McClure Co. will have to issue a check to the district for the difference.
Curren said the board is trying to "position the district for the future" and noted the necessity of making the energy saving measures. For example, Gilliland told The Daily Review that the heating system at W.R. Croman Primary School definitely needs replaced soon.
The district has also said that a new administration building would free up much-needed space at the high school, making available two to three more classrooms there. This is because the food service director, technology director and special education coordinator are housed at the high school, due to the fact that their former offices in the current administration building can't be used, due to some basement flooding that took place.
Gilliland said additional work would have to be done to convert these spaces at the high school into classrooms, in response to some concerns expressed by a resident at the meeting about the feasibility of their use as classrooms.
During the discussion, a question also arose about the fate of another one of the district's closed school buildings, Mosherville Elementary School.
"That will be sold, so we are currently in the process of putting that up for sale," Gilliland said.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.