Friday, July 23, 2010

District spending levy funds locally

Chatterton says more than 70 percent going to local companies


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Blaine County School District Business Manager Mike Chatterton says that more than 70 percent of the money now being spent from a voter-approved plant facilities levy is going to companies in Blaine County. Chatterton made the announcement Tuesday evening during a construction presentation at Bellevue Elementary School hosted by the Blaine County Education Foundation. Photo by Willy Cook

The Blaine County School District says it is making good on a commitment made last year to heavily recruit locally for work funded by a voter-approved $59.8 million plant facilities levy.

District Business Manger Mike Chatterton said at public meeting Tuesday evening that more than 70 percent of funds now being spent on renovation and geothermal resource development work at Bellevue Elementary School is going to local companies.

"If you talk to any of the local contractors on the Bellevue project, I think they'll tell you they're loving it, Chatterton said.

The announcement was made at a construction presentation at Bellevue Elementary School that was organized by the Blaine County Education Foundation.

Chatterton explained that preference to local companies was made possible through Energy Savings Performance Contracting, often referred to as ESCO, to Seattle-based McKinstry, an engineering firm awarded a $15.1 million contract by the school district in March. Under the ESCO, McKinstry is providing engineering and construction management services for geothermal resource development and heating, ventilating and air conditioning retrofits at Bellevue Elementary School. Later, the services will be extended to Carey School, Hailey Elementary School and the Wood River High School campus.

"Under performance-based contracting, we can give a preference to local contractors," said David Naccarato, business development manager for the McKinstry Boise office.

Naccarato said the ESCO process is becoming widely used throughout the United States as a way of bolstering local economies.

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Tuesday's meeting included presentations on a proposed new multipurpose room at Bellevue Elementary and development of geothermal resources.

The proposed multipurpose room is still subject to school board approval, but design is already underway by the Ruscitto/Blanton/Latham architectural firm in Ketchum.

"We're excited to see the school district give work to local architects and contractors," said Nick Latham, one of the company owners. "It's very helpful."

Naccarato said switching the school to geothermal energy was a "financial no brainer."

He said Bellevue Elementary, which was built in 1970, was "due for a HVAC retrofit" anyway and "what we do today will last for several decades."

Naccarato said switching the school to geothermal energy will only cost an additional $300,000 and that cost will be partially offset by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

He said the school district was among "hundreds of applicants" for the $5 million grant received from DOE and that "you were awarded the grant because your project made the most sense."

He estimated the energy savings at Bellevue Elementary over the next 20 years at $436,000.

"We're hurting in this economy," Naccarato said. "A lot of school district's are wringing their hands—what do we do, what do we do. Your school district has a vision and we are proud to be part of that."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com

Local spending

The Blaine County School District previously announced that nine Blaine County architectural or engineering firms have been contracted for work funded by a 10-year $59.8 million plant facilities levy approved by voters last year. On Tuesday evening, district Business Manger Mike Chatterton released the names of 22 local subcontractors or suppliers that have been hired for work now underway at Bellevue Elementary School.

Local subcontractors are Mattson Fire Sprinkler, Thornton Heating and Sheet Metal, Sawtooth Plumbing and Sheet Metal, Wood River Drilling, Curtis Uhrig Construction, Hank Brown Painting, C & R Electric, Englemann Inc. and Earth and Structure. Also, Professional Roofing, Extreme Concrete Cutting, Merrick Construction, Kolman Concrete, Webb Construction, Burks Excavation, Building Specialties and Sawtooth Construction.

Local suppliers recruited for the work are Franklin Building Supply, Platt Electric, Sawtooth Paint, Idaho Lumber and Electrical Wholesale.




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