Shorewood agrees to upgrade energy efficiency
District seeks to exceed its revenue limit
Shorewood - Hoping to reduce energy consumption, school officials last week voted to enter into a nearly $6 million contract with Honeywell International.
Representatives from Honeywell came before the School Board on Sept. 11, and several elected officials scrutinized details in the contract.
The process of entering into an agreement came after an extensive review that began more than a year ago. Honeywell and district staff went through each of the district's four buildings and reviewed existing infrastructure.
Early in the process, officials determined the full scope of the work was outside the expertise and realistic workload of the district's in-house staff.
A lengthy spreadsheet, outlining a list of potential projects, was subsequently created and whittled down with input from a number of committees.
Long-term efficiencies sought
A number of efficiencies are planned to existing infrastructure at each building, including electrical work, ventilation improvements and lighting enhancements. Also on the list are a few structural tweaks. For example, there is air leakage at each building, and work will take place in an effort to remedy the situation.
In addition to long-term savings from the energy efficiencies, the district does stand to recoup some of its upfront costs through rebates with Focus on Energy.
Several board members attempted to go through language in the agreement with a fine-tooth comb during the meeting. Board member Michael Mishlove frequently discussed the full scope of Honeywell's work and the possibility of change orders to the agreement that could result in added costs.
"Everyone prepares for the marriage, but no one prepares for the divorce," Mishlove said, pointing to the importance for a sound legal document that would be difficult to challenge.
Business Manager Mark Boehlke said conservative cost estimates were used to derive the final figure, meaning the chances of a financial overrun were slim.
Under terms of the contract, Honeywell will incur the costs of a project if it was a reasonable oversight. But the district could be subject to pay additional funds if the full scope of the work had to be increased for a project that was not readily noticeable during preliminary inspections.
"There's this nebulous language, and I'm unclear if we would need to pay additional costs," Mishlove said. "I would love it if that were not the case."
Boehlke and Superintendent Marty Lexmond have appointed working foreman Tony Seidita as the district's point person for the project, meaning he will interact frequently with Honeywell officials. Seidita will assimilate the responsibility into his existing workload - an issue that caused concern from Mishlove.
"It's important that we have someone acting in our capacity to serve as our advocate," Mishlove said. "But my experience is when we do this and start to use our own people, other stuff starts to not get done."
Seidita, who was present at the meeting, said he did not believe such a scenario would be the case.
The board's approval of an agreement with Honeywell sets into motion a series of events, including a 30-day petition period.
On Oct. 23, officials plan to present the board with a request to adopt a resolution to override the district's revenue limit to pay off debt service bonds for the work.
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