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Work on several major energy saving projects in the La Joya Independent School District will be completed in February.
La Joya ISD hired Indiana-based Performance Services Inc. to upgrade air conditioning, install solar panels, and replace high school fields with artificial turf.
“We expect to be fully ready by the end of the month based on deliveries and installation,” said project manager Craig Bruska, who briefed the school board on Wednesday. “We’re shooting to get it done earlier, but we are completely confident that all installations will be ready by the end of February.”
La Joya ISD has loaned nearly $ 13 million for Phase I of the energy saving project, according to the 2019-2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report approved by the Board of Directors in January. La Joya ISD has loaned an additional $ 31 million for Phase II and other expenses, including new radios.
The energy saving projects are paying off according to an analysis carried out by Performance Services. Otherwise, Performance Services has covered the costs.
The Agua Special Utility District and the City of Mission have also negotiated energy saving agreements with Performance Services in recent years.
Phase II of the La Joya ISD project included nearly $ 24 million to upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in La Joya ISD. Building solar panels at La Joya High School and Juarez-Lincoln High School; and install artificial turf on high school tracks.
Performance Services completed the solar array at Juarez-Lincoln High School in July, which cost around $ 1.7 million. The larger $ 3.4 million solar panel at La Joya High School was completed in December.
“We’re generating the electricity at our target rate,” said Bruska. “So we are confident that we will achieve our guaranteed energy savings targets for the district.”
Work on Palmview High School is complete, Bruska added. The weather and the coronavirus pandemic delayed the Juarez-Lincoln High School project.
“The fields and tracks will be 100% ready and will be handed over to the district this month,” said Bruska.
Phase II also provided around $ 4.6 million for security gates and tracks at the ISD elementary schools in La Joya.
Work on the elementary school trails, which cost nearly $ 2.9 million, was completed in January, according to the school board. The installation of security gates and fences, which cost nearly $ 1.7 million, is due to be completed in February.
“We had some delays from our manufacturer. These were COVID-related, ”said Bruska. “They had to shut down the plant due to illness and then had fewer staff, so the delivery of some components was delayed.”
The final part of the project, the gate at Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Elementary School, will be completed by February 12, Bruska said.
During the discussion, trustee Alex Cantu asked Bruska if the project was on budget.
“We’re not on budget for the project,” said Bruska.
Bruska said that with the approval of the school board, Performance Services moved money from one part of the project to another to cover changes. Performance Services also used a built-in allowance to pay for asbestos and mold removal.
“Right now we expect a return to the budget of $ 247,000.29 when all is said and done,” said Bruska. “So we are under your allocated funds for the project.”