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Palmerton looks at energy-saving school projects

Published January 11. 2020 06:05AM


Two often-discussed projects in Palmerton Area School District may get the green light by March should the prices be right.

Palmerton’s school board this week moved forward with getting cost estimates on window replacements at its high school and construction of a secured vestibule entrance at S.S. Palmer Elementary School.

The district tabbed the McClure Company to do an investment grade audit of its facilities, and Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates to do a feasibility study for the Palmer entrance and project scope determination.

The purpose of the audit, according to the motion, is to develop final pricing and savings for the possibility of entering into a guaranteed energy savings agreement.

“This is at no cost to the district today,” said Alyssa Wingenfield, account executive with McClure. “We’ll walk contractors around, do the schematic design and come back with some budgets.”

Should the district move forward from there, according to Tuesday’s motion, Crabtree would then receive 6.5% of the board approved construction budget. Director Barry Scherer voted against the Crabtree motion, saying he wanted to see the estimates the firm came back with before committing to the 6.5% fee.

Both Wingenfield and Eric Snyder, of Keystone Consulting Engineers, the district’s engineering firm of record, said 6.5% was in the standard range for an architect’s fee.

“We could be cutting off our nose to spite our face if we delay this,” Audrey Larvey, board vice-president, said. “If we delay, the project cost could get higher or Crabtree may come back and want a higher percentage. We’re not obligated to pay them anything if we don’t approve the budget they come back with.”

Board President Kathy Fallow concurred, noting that the board made Tuesday’s meeting a voting session in large part to move along a window replacement project, which has already seen delays.

According to a timeline provided by Wingenfield, if the board likes the project estimates it receives, it could vote to approve the projects in March.

“Permitting would then take place in April, with mobilization in May and the construction taking place over summer break,” she added.

McClure has overseen energy savings projects in two neighboring districts; Northern Lehigh and Lehighton.

In 2015, Lehighton approved $25.7 million in renovations to its middle and high schools with the McClure Company installing a four-pipe central heat pump system in the schools for $7.72 million.

Because it was an energy savings, or ESCO, project, McClure guaranteed the district over $80,000 per year in utility savings.

Northern Lehigh entered into a guaranteed energy savings agreement with McClure Company, which will guarantee 20-year energy and operational savings of $5 million on a project that includes HVAC upgrades at the high school and middle school, roofing upgrades, and districtwide LED lighting upgrades.


Larvey n fallow you just love making the taxpayers money dont you? You two are a joke n should just resign but since you have the other clowns in your pocket guess that wont happen
TAXES, TAXES, TAXES, Time to give up sell my house and go into rent like all the other people with kids in school do so they do not have to pay property taxes.
Saving on energy will never lower my taxes and who cares what it will save in the next 20 years most of us seniors will be dead and buried by then and will never see the benefits.
Rental Properties are taxed, and that tax is rolled into the monthly rent.
Tired of paying taxes? Get involved with a local TEA Party.
Most Americans have no idea what TEA stands for. (Taxed Enough Already)
Go to... I am sick of the over priced/rated public school system.
Check out TEA Party Patriots...
Get informed about how Pennsylvania's Public Schools fleece the taxpayer. We spend over $15K per student per year!
It'll take more than new windows to make a change.
Vote for fiscal conservatives in 2020

Thanks for your service Citizen Bradley.
I only wish we had more SB members thinking with Patriot minds.
But to be fair. Decision to locally educate, are made in distant places (DOE, PDE).
Bring all local education decisions back to the local citizens. I'm tired of hearing from SB members, "our hands are tied".
Many of uur educators (not all) would love to remove decisions from the local, most imediate body of government... Parents.
To these highly educated snobs (many educators), parents are inadequate and only get in the way. Others subscibe to the "it takes a village."
Get your children out of the Government Training Camps, there are better options. Remember this... "What is taught in the classroom today, will be embraced by the government tomorrow."
Can you spell socialism? Ever hear of evolution? Common Core? No more cursive? New Math?
Progressive thinking? Teachers on strike?
God Help Us!
I feel like I rent my house off the school district. $525 per month. :-(

I truly believe that once you become a school board member they take you to some kind of brain washing event. Maybe they call it training. Someone is responsible for personality type determination. If you are determined to not fit the desired personality the others are somehow organized against you. Those that remain are instructed to spend money, more than they could ever believe. NEVER use subtraction or division. Raise taxes - drive out the poor and the elderly - let the young with children and two jobs move in. They will be tricked by our new fields and fancy windows and grand entrances, and lousy real estate value (because there's no room for principle and interest because of taxes). Then once in and re-assessed they can get a third or fourth job to pay the taxes and all the extracurricular activity fees and donations because there's no money in the multi-million dollar school budget for anything non-football related. Or you know what yes lets have the football team raise funds too.

Look what David Bradley goes through. Seems to me all he's saying is hey show us what you're spending money on. Maybe just a little something, show me something, anything, please, pretty please, tomorrow, next week, at next month's meeting maybe? Yes - no, maybe? Definitely no then.
No only brain washing educational sessions. They are also told some of the most unusual things by solicitors and Superintendents. If you want to learn more of the ridiculousness visit a private lobby group's website, attend a board meeting or just ask the right questions. File a formal written complaint concerning waste. Hold your board accountable.

The Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA) is an private corporation and lobbyist group.

The entire school board system has been corrupted by rubber-stampers who blindly trust the wrong people to act with fidelity.

Districts have laws to follow, and the stakeholders are the primary means of enforcement with the complaint process.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.

Just so you all know if energy prices stayed the same and you saved $80k per year the $7.72 million Lehighton spent has a 96.5 year pay back. I'm sure there's lots more to it but out of the gate that doesn't look good.

I'm sure Palmerton's plan doesn't look much better BECAUSE NOBODY IS SPENDING THEIR OWN MONEY.

Also the estimates are only going to be good for 30 days. There's NO WAY any school district is going to approve a contract in the millions in less time than that and the contractor knows it. Plus I'll bet there's a clause in the proposal to cover material increases. You really think you're going to take some kind of advantage of a multi-million dollar construction company - REALLY?

Don't hastily go into spending millions of taxpayer money. A reasonable amount of time spent on the front end organizing, scoping, and estimating is always time well spent.

Remember it's construction, it's not a horse race. Don't get in a rush. I've been in construction all my life. I'll break it down for you. FAST - CHEAP - RIGHT you can pick any two.
The board should apply basic

Asset management
Financial management
and use Leadership skills as PUBLIC SERVANTS.

The State ESCO programs are good, if applied properly. The problem is many board members get spendy with the savings before they pass them to the stakeholders. Stupidity is not necessarily illegal, just immoral.

The stakeholders need to hold the government accountable using the policy and process.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Taxed Enough Already? Join the TEA Party. There's ways around the way we currently fund the Government Training Camps AKA Public Schools. Better yet, allow competition, instead of monopolized indoctrination centers run by unionized progressives.
Vote Republican, and maybe we can make our schools better?
Shut down the Federal DOE. Windows and lighting options is the least of the worries.
Get rid of Common Core.
FYI - Levite the Tea Party died as of 2019 and you don't even know it.
Why...Trump the King of Debt and Republican H & S
Maybe you should stay up to date with the Republican Party before you make silly, silly comments.
Nov 2019 -Also Corporate Debt is near $10 Trillion per David J. Lynch.
Not a pretty picture -ehh.
Joe please comment.
I am the TEA Party... well, part of the body anyway, and I'm alive!
Come join us.
Now let's gat back to discussing the fleecing of homeowners by the elite educators, shall we?
Boston Globe Feb 2018 - What happened to the Tea Party
CNN - July 2019 - Dead
Reason .com - Tea Party is officially dead.
Its very easy to google Tea Party and get the info from trusted sources.
Funny how you are starting new projects but you can’t seem to finish the ones in the middle school so the teachers can do their jobs correctly. There is a kiln in the art room that can’t even be plugged in because there isn’t a correct outlet. The windows in the old part of the middle school could stand to be replaced also....let’s just keep putting band aids on things instead of doing them correctly

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