November 28, 2012

RSU 9 board approves $900,000 boiler system for Mt. Blue middle school complex

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 will get a wood-pellet boiler system to heat Mt. Blue Middle School, Cascade Brook School and the bus garage.
Directors Tuesday night unanimously voted to go forward with building the system, which is expected to cost $900,000 and predicted to save the district an average of $43,000 to $60,000 over the next four years.
Superintendent Michael Cormier Wednesday said the school district is replacing the system to deal with rising energy costs. The current oil-fueled boilers will remain as backups to the new system.
“This is a proactive cost-saving measure to get us off oil,” he said.
After the new system is built, Cormier said all schools in the district will be heated by wood-pellet boilers except the Gerald D. Cushing School in Wilton and Mt. Blue High School.
Dan Thayer, owner of Thayer Corp. which will build the system, said the  system will pay for itself in 15 to 20 years and should last more than 20 years.
The systems are clean and efficient, he said.  “This isn’t your grandpa’s woodstove,” Thayer said.
Cormier said the system will reduce emissions and the school district will buy a local product to burn — wood — instead of oil.
“We’re trying to get ourselves off the fossil fuels. Wood is a local product for us,” he said.
Cormier said if oil continues to increase in price, the school district could save even more from switching to the wood-pellet boiler.
“I just think long term, looking at this district and where we’re trying to go, this makes so much sense,” he said.
The new system will be installed in the Cascade Brook School boiler room. Construction will begin July 15 and should be finished before the school year begins. The 254-student school, which houses fourth through sixth grade is on Learning Lane, as are the middle school and bus garage.
Thayer Corp. was chosen from three proposals to build the pellet boiler system.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
kschroeder@mainetoday.com

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