Construction, energy savings projects abound

From 'green friendly' options to a new elementary school, Camas and Washougal districts have kept busy this summer

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Geert Aerts checks the HVAC equipment at Washougal High School. He is helping the school district with an energy conservation project that includes retro-commissioning the heating and cooling systems.

While students and parents may just now be thinking about school, both local districts have been busy this summer with a variety of projects.

In Camas, construction on the Doc Harris Stadium, Camas High School and Dorothy Fox additions, as well as the completion of Hayes Freedom High School have been on the forefront.

In Washougal, a variety of energy efficiency improvements, including retro-commissioning the heating and cooling systems at the high school, installing programmable thermostats in portable classrooms, and programming and monitoring heating/cooling control software so that unused spaces are not heated or air-conditioned unnecessarily.

“Basically, we’re programming it so we can control each room individually,” said Geert Aerts, who provides energy conservation management services for the district. “We’re scheduling the systems so that everyone will be comfortable, but we don’t want to waste energy that isn’t needed.”

When school begins in a few weeks, Aerts will work with students and staff to help them brainstorm ways to contribute to energy efficiency.

Aerts is employed by Education Service District 112 as an energy engineer. He was paid $17,480 for the retro-commissioning project and will receive $25,528 to provide district-wide energy conservation management services for the coming school year.

“The district has made a decision to use energy in an efficient and responsible manner,” said Doug Bright, director of human resources, maintenance and operations. “The software upgrade, as well as developing a district-wide culture that implements the new energy-saving procedures, are steps in achieving energy cost savings.”

The WHS retro-commissioning and software upgrade will cost approximately $45,000, of which up to half will be rebated by a Clark Public Utilities/Bonneville Power Administration grant.

Overall, the high school project is expected to save up to $33,000 next year, and up to $66,000 per year when all energy efficiency improvements have been implemented. At the other schools, savings are expected to total $200,000 per year.

In Camas, construction has kept the district busy during the summer. There are several projects in various states of completion. These are being paid for out of the 2007 voter-approved bond:

“In addition to their primary educational function, public schools serve as a community focal point and provide facilities used for a variety of community civic and recreational needs,” Heidi Rosenberg, school district capital programs director, said.

Hayes Freedom High School – The 20,500 square foot, 200-student alternative high school was finished last month. There will be an open house at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2.

It is a net-zero-ready designed building, with extensive energy conservation measures, and solar panels on the roof which are connected to the grid through a net metering program with Clark Public Utilities. The district will also receive rebates for its energy saving measures and has qualified for a Bonneville Environmental Fund Solar4RSchools educational grant.

Cost: The state provided about $2.4 million for the construction of the new school, with the bond covering about $3.9 million.

Doc Harris Stadium and field – The replacement stadium is scheduled to be open for the first home football game of the fall season on Friday, Sept. 17.

The new stadium will seat 3,000 fans on the home side, with covered visitor bleachers for another 1,000 guests. A statue of the late Doc Harris will greet fans as they return to the new stadium. The turf and track are also being replaced.

It will also remain home to a pair of osprey, who have babies in a nest box (designed with the help of Clark Public Utilities) on a tall pole inside of the new field lights.

Cost: Total of $6.4 million, which also includes replacing the track and turf at the stadium at 841 N.E. 22nd Ave.

JD Zellerbach Elementary conversion to district offices – The former JDZ Elementary School is being renovated to accommodate a consolidated district office, including all downtown campus support staff, the print shop, and the community education office. Construction is scheduled to be complete before the end of the year.

Cost: $848,000.

Dorothy Fox Elementary School addition and renovation – Construction began at the end of June and will continue through the school year, with a completion date of next summer. The project includes an expanded cafeteria, new gymnasium, seven classroom addition, and renovation of library space to include a new computer room.

“Construction will continue through the school year and into the next summer, and students and staff will also become adept at going to school with ongoing construction,” Rosenberg said.

Cost: $3.98 million

Camas High School addition and renovation – Construction began last month and is set to continue through the next school year and be complete next summer.

“Student parking will be tight and students and staff will have to adjust to the ongong construction,” Rosenberg said.

The project includes a new classroom wing, a library extension, remodeling of special education spaces, a new student commons, remodeling of physical education areas, a new wrestling and dance room, a new training classroom, and renovation of the front entrance to enhance security.

Cost: $6.15 million.

CHS baseball/softball field drainage improvements – An under-drainage system in all four baseball and softball fields at Camas High School is being installed this summer.

The fields will be ready for play in time for the next spring season.

Cost: $190,860.

New East Elementary School – DOWA Architects recently completed preliminary design of the new east elementary school, and will continue with design during the summer.

The 600 student school is located on a 12.8 acre site just north of Lacamas Lake Park on Crown Road.

The district purchased $15 million of Qualified School Capital Bonds to pay for this project. The bonds have a greatly reduced interest payment, but the bond money must be spent before Dec. 31, 2012. This will allow the new elementary school to open for students in the fall of 2013.