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Education articles

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Lopez Island School District has been awarded a $728,000 grant from the State of Washington to assist in funding the District’s proposed energy and water conservation upgrades to its Lopez campus.

These upgrades are part of the full campus renovation capital bond that voters will decide upon in the April election.

The energy grant program was a very competitive process. Only 28 of 54 school districts applying were successful. The State awarded grants based on the strength of the application, the type of work proposed, and the energy and water savings projected. The District made this grant development part of the contract with the architects for its facilities master planning process.

“We got double benefit out of our planning work,” stated John Helding, School Board Chair, “We developed reliable options and costs for our renovation program and at the same time got done the considerable work needed to submit a winning grant proposal. We are very encouraged by this State support.”

Included are efficiency upgrades to legacy heating systems, new insulation and siding for all the buildings, high efficiency LED lighting, low flow water fixtures, storage and irrigation systems needed to use roof rainwater for playfield and food garden irrigation, and a 20 KW photovoltaic system on its south-facing roofs.

Over a thirty-year time frame, the improvements will save the District an estimated $750,000 in energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6.9 million pounds, and reduce the use of Lopez aquifer ground water by more than 9 million gallons.

“With this grant and the hoped for approval of our capital bond, we can implement these conservation measures, reduce our operating costs, and send those savings into the classroom to the benefit of our educational programs,” stated Lopez Superintendent Bill Evans. “This project is all about our students and their futures,” Evans said.

Utilizing the State grant is dependent on matching money from the District. The District is planning to make its contribution from the capital bond proceeds if the bond is approved by voters in April. In addition, the District has also applied for and is scheduled to receive approximately $400,000 in state grant money for renovation work involving its high school program. With these two grants, the school is in line to receive over $1 million in State support for its proposed whole campus renovation and upgrade program. Superintendent Evans shared,

“We’ve had success in finding State support even with the tough budget climate in Olympia, and we’ll continue to overturn every stone to find additional grant money to help offset the cost of our proposed 30 year renovation project.” State Senator Kevin Ranker has expressed support for the Lopez School renovation project and congratulated the school on its receipt of the energy grant. “I commend the Lopez School for winning this coveted award and securing grant funds necessary to make upgrades that will conserve energy and water on their campus. I am impressed by the operational savings and the environmental benefits that result from this forward-looking renovation of their great school,” said Senator Ranker.

Ballots for the bond election will be delivered the first week of April and need to be returned by April 23. For additional information on this conservation program or the associated capital bond, please contact Superintendent Bill Evans at 468-2202, ext. 2350 or by Email at [email protected].

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