BETHEL — SAD 44 officials hope to know where and how heat is escaping from the Telstar Middle/High School complex by the end of February.

The district is using $10,000 in federal stimulus funds to conduct an energy audit that will include thermal imaging, Superintendent David Murphy said.

Once the audit is complete, the board will decide what steps to take. Many in the district believe the school is poorly insulated and costs far more to heat than it should.

Murphy has said that while snow stays on the roofs of other buildings, it becomes water at the Telstar complex.

The district has tucked way about $1.2 million over the years for capital improvement projects.

If the board should decide to undertake a major energy conservation project at the school, residents would have to approve any proposal, Murphy said.

In other matters, the board learned at their meeting Monday that a new water heater must be installed at Crescent Park Elementary School. Murphy said the current one has a slow leak that is giving off an odor. The $18,000 cost to replace it will come from the contingency account.

Also, district transportation director Ron Deegan demonstrated a new device meant to ensure the safety of children waiting for a school bus in darkness.

The safety campaign, Be Safe, Be Seen, is issuing each elementary-aged child a 2-inch diameter LED light in an orange casing that flashes. Parents are asked to attach the light to their child’s backpack or jacket when they head to their bus stop. Once the child boards his or her bus, the bus driver will ask the child to turn the light off.

The campaign also encourages parents to dress their children in light-colored clothing, to stand in groups, and to stay at least 10 feet from the roadway until the bus comes to a complete stop.

Murphy also announced that new 20 mph speed signs are now installed in both directions on Route 26 at the Telstar complex.

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