The school board voted on Wednesday to approve the allocation of funding from the $2.2 million the district had set aside in contingency and unrestricted reserves.
The district will spend $300,000 to implement nine energy-saving projects in school buildings across the district. Secretary-treasurer Gerry Slykhuis said they are close to signing an agreement with BC Hydro that will see the utility fund 100 per cent of the cost to hire an energy manager to oversee those projects, and to provide about $200,000 of the $500,000 needed to complete the projects.
He said an example of a project would be the plug-ins for staff vehicles will be replaced with “smart plugs” that do not power all the time when a vehicle is plugged in during the winter.
In total, the nine projects are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in district buildings by over 460,000 kilograms, and save the district just over $100,000 annually, meaning the projects would pay for themselves in less than three years.
The district will also spend $200,000 to renew the main entranceway to the South Peace Secondary campus of Dawson Creek Secondary School. Slykhuis said not only is the project meant to improve the visibility, functionality and look of the entrance, but it will also help cut down on heating costs, as the project will look to employ more energy-efficient windows and insulation using a prefinished architectural cladding similar to that used on the Health Sciences Building at Northern Lights College.
Al Van Tassen, facilities manager for the district, said the project as conceived involves combing the two existing doors into one, creating a new foyer in the building by removing the wall that separates the entrance from the concession area, and recreating the sidewalk leading into the building into a broad walkway down the middle of the causeway, surrounded by foliage on either side. He said they also envision a roof stretching across the causeway to the adjacent Unchagah Hall.
Following a review of all of the buildings in the district, $300,000-worth of roof repairs and upgrades have been identified for this year, and $200,000 over the next four years, and $100,000 in subsequent years.
“We have a lot of them that are all of the same vintage, which is really scary, because a lot of roofs are going to need to be fixed at the same time,” said Slykhuis.
However, he said he expects that the facilities grant the district receives from the provincial government annually would cover the roofing costs in the years after the first two years of work.