McClatchy-Tribune Regional News – Rob Wheary The News-Item, Shamokin, Pa.
The Line Mountain School Board authorized Tuesday the continuation of analysis for a new geothermal heating and air conditioning system at the high school following successful testing by its engineers and architects.
Approval to continue came on a 7-1 vote with members Troy Laudenslager, Dennis Erdman, Lawrence Neidig, David Bartholomew, Denise Clouser, Ronald Neidig and Marlin Yeager Jr. voting yes and Lauren Hackenburg casting the lone dissenting vote. Board member Lamont Masser was absent.
Project manager Joshua Bower from Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates and John Solarczyk from Pyramid Engineering gave a presentation on testing at the high school campus in Mandata, comparing the results to a geothermal system used at the Trevorton Elementary School.
“Our tests showed that conditions are very favorable for a geothermal system like you have at Trevorton,” Bower said.
The district wants to convert the school’s heating, venting and air conditioning system to geothermal for about the same amount as what the district is paying in energy costs now.
“Our electrical costs may go up,” superintendent David Campbell said, “but it will be a wash with the costs to do the project and our savings from not being dependant on ‘black gold’.”
In a geothermal HVAC system, A liquid, called glycol — a coolant similar to antifreeze — is distributed in and out of wells through a series of pipes and cycled through the building in a closed loop to either heat or cool the rooms, depending on the need.
Energy recovery units are placed on the roof to allow fresh air into the building.
A project estimate put the new system’s cost of the project at approximately $4 million, but bids could come in lower, Bower said.
About 100 wells would be drilled in the parking lot between the school and the stadium and then, once the closed loop system is installed, the lot would be repaved to hide the inner workings. At Trevorton Elementary, the wells are underneath the school’s playground.
The board also discussed three alternatives for other renovations on campus, including the replacement of the wooden windows in the building, construction of a free-standing maintenance garage with a salt shed and resurfacing the main access road.