OXFORD — The Oxford Hills School District Board of Directors has approved a $1.02 million project to install wood pellet boilers at Oxford and Norway elementary schools and interior and exterior LED lighting at five schools.

The unanimous vote to contract with Siemens Building Technology occurred at Monday night’s meeting.

The $1,024,807 project will replace oil-fired boilers at Guy E. Rowe School in Norway and Oxford Elementary School. It will also fund exterior LED lighting at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris and Harrison, Waterford, Otisfield and Oxford elementary schools and interior LED lighting at the high school auditorium, forum and hallways.

In all, there are 200 exterior lights being converted to LED fixtures as well as 400 interior lights, Superintendent Rick Colpitts said.

The lighting project will save about 136,000 kilowatt hours; the boilers will save about 25,000 gallons of oil, he said.

School officials had been reviewing an 18-year performance contract with Siemens Building Technology to install the two pellet boilers, but in June concerns arose about the length of the financing.

Colpitts told the Operations Committee at that time that they had hoped for a 10- to 12-year contract instead of the 18-year one Siemens said it needed for profitability.

Monday night’s action rescinded its vote of June 17 for the performance contract with Siemens, which did not include the interior lighting component.

The new package includes the pellet boilers and lighting.

Although the scope of the project increased since June, the board voted to
finance $859,514 under a Qualified School Construction Bond through Androscoggin Bank at no interest for 15 years.

The remaining $131,523, which is the difference between the original project and the expanded project, will be voted on at the next meeting in August, Colpitts said. 

The total to be financed will be about $991,000, Colpitts said. The remaining $33,770 will be paid by reimbursement through Efficiency Maine. 

Facilities Director Dave Marshall said it will take six to eight weeks to receive the boilers and they will be installed before the next heating season.

Colpitts has said the move to continue expanding the biomass projects throughout the district is based on positive cash flows from previous projects. Energy-saving measures have been taken at eight of the district’s school buildings since fiscal year 2007. They include a biomass boiler at the high school.

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