CATAWISSA RR - Southern Columbia Area School District is considering proposals to help make buildings more energy efficient and use the savings to invest in other school projects.

Districts can make such investments through Act 39, Alyssa Wingenfield, director of energy services for McClure Company, a subsidiary of PPL Energy Services, said in a presentation to board members Monday night.

If a company promises a certain amount of savings within the first year, it is on the hook for the difference if the savings come up short, according to the act.

From her preliminary examination, Wingenfield said the district spends $403,000 in utilities, approximately 60 percent at the middle/high school and approximately 40 percent at the elementary school.

At both buildings, the boilers lack efficiency, there is poor zone temperature control and the roofs are subject to leaks and need repairs, she said.

The high school also has three types of hot water/steam systems and antiquated unit vents and it lacks air conditioning in many rooms, she said.

The district can either chose a base program, a base program plus a new HVAC system, a base program plus a new HVAC system and roofing upgrades or a base program plus a geothermal climate control system, Wingenfield said.

The district would invest $325,000 and see a savings of $807,00 over 20 years in the first option; $1.6 million and $3 million in the second option; $3.6 million and $2.2 million in the third option, and $6.3 million and $4 million in the fourth option, she said.

The next step for the district is to select someone to audit the proposal and determine the final scope and cost of the projects they want to fund, she said.

If the district chooses McClure, construction could start by June.

A decision will be discussed at the next facilities meeting Feb. 3.

Gym to be named

The board also unanimously voted to name the new high school gymnasium in honor of Mr. Charles T. Nesbitt, a former district athletic director.

Nesbitt, 70, was "instrumental in the growth of Southern Columbia's athletic program from five interscholastic sports programs to the current 14 programs in the new Heartland Conference," according to a page from the Charles T. Nesbitt Ninth Grade Basketball Tournament program.

High School Principal James Becker said Nesbitt was "speechless" and "choked up" when he was told the gym would be named for him.

A dedication ceremony will take place before the varsity basketball game Feb. 3.

In other business

The next contract negotiations meeting with the teachers union will be held Feb. 20. Vice President Charlie Porter said the district is expecting the teachers to respond to the latest proposal.