The Botetourt County School Board passed a resolution last Thursday finalizing its contract with Johnson Controls to proceed with a $6.3 million energy and operational savings project that will touch every school building in the county.

The Botetourt Board of Supervisors still has to give its official nod to the project and financing that will cover 15 years. The supervisors are expected to do that when they meet next week.

The project is guaranteed to provide an expected $7.6 million in energy and operational savings over the next 15 years that will provide the payments on the debt service for the Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) that is available through a program administered by the Virginia Division of Mineral Mining’s Division of Energy.

Under the contract, Johnson Controls will make nearly $6.3 million in improvements to all of the school buildings over the course of the next year.

Johnson Controls guarantees the energy savings for the proposed scope of work that will include, among other things, new LED lighting inside and outside all the school buildings.

The work will also include upgrades to the existing building automation systems that already help control energy costs.

Some of the schools will also get other improvements. Air systems at Lord Botetourt High School and Read Mountain Middle School will be sealed and the 20-year-old air-handling unit will be replaced at LBHS.

The work will include replacing boilers at LBHS, CAMS, RMMS and Botetourt Technical Education Center. Irvin called those the “worst of the worst.” The school division was forced to replace the boiler at James River High School this year.

The chillers will be replaced at LBHS and CAMS as part of the project, and there will be smaller upgrades at various schools, including some kitchens, and insulating some walls and insulating areas around windows and doors.

The project also includes installing water conservation fixtures to reduce water consumption for school buildings that have water bills.

The annual energy savings are expected to be at least $420,000 the first year, and those savings will pay the debt service on the $6.3 million in work.

It’s possible the school division will save even more, but the annual savings is guaranteed or Johnson Controls will write a check for the difference to cover the debt service. If that happens, Johnson Controls would work on correcting any problems.

In other business during last week’s May meeting, the School Board:

  • Approved the 2017-2018 Special Education Annual Plan
  • Heard a presentation of the Little Free Library Project by Read Mountain Middle School and English teacher Catey Moretz.
  • Recognized the Botetourt County Schools 2017 Spelling Bee Division Champion Jumana El Shenawy from Read Mountain Middle School and Alternate Brayden Wells from Cloverdale Elementary School.
  • Recognized the county’s first three students who completed the Associate’s Degree in Health Sciences Specialization, Erin Bohannon and Kaelyn Dooley, seniors at Lord Botetourt High School, and Sydney Gordon, a senior at James River High School.
  • Recognized Angela Myers, a teacher at Read Mountain Middle School, as a 2017 McGlothlin Award Finalist.
  • Agreed to purchase property at 765 Cougar Drive, adjacent to Cloverdale Elementary School, pending the title search and approval of funds from the Board of Supervisors.
  • Approved BTEC students going to Louisville, Ky., June 19-23.
  • Approved Read Mountain Middle School students going to Blacksburg June 26-29.
  • Approved Lord Botetourt High School students going to Boone, N.C., July 25-27.
  • Approved Lord Botetourt High School students going to Ebetsy, Japan, October 14-24.

— Ed McCoy