The Tamaqua Area School District is looking to continue its trend of becoming more environmentally friendly with its energy usage.

The district's board of education Tuesday evening accepted the proposal from McClure Company, Inc., Harrisburg, to conduct a geothermal test bore drilling study at Tamaqua Elementary School, at a cost of $8,500.

In addition, the board authorized its administration to enter into a letter of intent for power purchase agreement with Metrotek Electrical Services, Inc., to conduct a solar power study and assessment of the district.

During the 2009-2010 school year the district installed a geothermal heating and cooling system at Tamaqua Area High School as part of its contract with PPL Energy Services, of which McClure is a subsidiary. The geothermal system at the high school was part of PPL Energy Services' guaranteed savings program with the district.

As part of phase two of the project, McClure offered to perform the test borings on the grounds of Tamaqua Elementary, which is located in Tamaqua Borough's north ward, to see if geothermal would work for that school building as well.

The board is also seeking to renovate the high school locker rooms and bathrooms. Last week, Shayne Homan of McClure recommended MM Architects, Lancaster, as a candidate to draw up designs for the locker room and bathroom renovations. Hogan said MM's price tag for the design work could run between $30,000 and $35,000.

The district is moving forward on the renovations but has authorized business manager Connie Ligenza to solicit proposals for architectural services for the project.

As for the solar power study, the district had previously approved entering into an agreement with Cross River Solar for a feasibility study for the installation of a photovoltaic system.

The board is now agreeing to allow Metrotek to conduct a solar power study, as well as an application and engineering study of the district at Metrotek's expenses.

As per the motion from board treasurer Daniel E. Schoener, who chairs the finance committee, it was mentioned that changes to the contract with Metrotek have been suggested by Superintendent Carol Makuta and Attorney Jeffrey Bowe, the district's solicitor, although the changes were not discussed during the meeting.

In other business, Godshall's Landscaping and Hydroseeding, Center Valley, was hired to hydroseed the high school baseball field, as well as fields at Tamaqua and Rush Elementary Schools, at a cost of $4,375.

The district has also entered into a contract with Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit for web hosting services for payroll, personnel and fund accounting applications, for an annual charge of $19,099.50, which has been prorated for the current fiscal year.

The board approved the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit No. 29's one-one-one services agreement for special education services for the current fiscal year, for a tentative amount of $64,579.53.

The district has entered into contracts with Behavioral Health Associates at the rate of $1,250 per month per student, for a maximum of nine months during the school year; with KidsPeace Hospital for a tutorial program at $27.82 per hour for five hours per week, retroactive to Aug. 14 and concluding when services are no longer needed; and an agreement with Child and Family Services, Inc. Pottsville, for the student assistance program.

The purchase of filters for all district buildings from Smith Filter Corporation, Illinois, for a total not to exceed $4,897.44, was approved.

The board also approved the participation of the district's students in the School Influenza Immunization Plan, offered free of charge through the Pa. Department of Health.

The administration's request to donate and/or dispose of antiquated textbooks from Tamaqua Elementary was approved.