KC moves forward with firm's findings for energy savings

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Kilgore College is moving forward with a plan that ultimately will bring more, improved lighting, updated plumbing equipment and energy savings.

Kilgore College and McKinstry Essention, LLC began their partnership in April 2017 with McKinstry conducting an energy services audit throughout both KC campuses.

McKinstry brought to the KC Board of Trustees’ Property and Facilities Committee a presentation outlining their energy services audit. As part of the two-and-a-half hour meeting, the discussion moved from energy savings to water conservation to funding for the 18-month $18.6 million project.

Although Monday’s meeting was specifically for the committee, the entire board was invited and eight of the nine board members were present. James Walker was the only member absent.

Each board member present voted to support moving forward with the project and letting KC President Brenda Kays work on developing a contract before a finished contract is brought before the board for final approval.

One of the buildings the board members focused on was the SL Canterbury Jr. Engineering and Science Building, where the first floor floods because if was built below the water table.

The necessary improvements will require much of the vegetation and concrete surrounding the building to be dug up before new drainage can be installed and the foundation can be waterproofed.

The $1 million option board members looked at during Monday’s meeting would take the place of improvements to the pool in Parks Fitness Center. Improvements to the pool would include a dehumidification unit and other controls to help limit corrosion on metal pipes in the fitness center.

The vote Monday night to move forward with a plan that would include improvements to the Engineering and Science Building does not constitute a final decision, but instead is just part of the discussions of how to improve the campus.

In total, the company reviewed 52 Kilgore College facilities with many requiring updated heating and air conditioning systems.

Lighting will be added to areas of the campuses that are otherwise very dark at night. Existing lights will be retrofitted to use LED lights along sidewalks, in parking lots and “wall washers” used to illuminate the exterior of buildings.

“Many of this lighting that you see, finishing off Nolen Street and turning down the main road here, does not exist. It’s very dark on that portion of campus, so we would be adding lighting there to make those walkways safer at nighttime… The thing that you’ll see when we’re done is just a difference from the safety aspect in the parking lots and a lot of the walkways,” McKinstry account executive Ryan Sheard said.

In some cases, this will mean replacing poles and light fixtures. Street lights will not be changed, though, because they are controlled by the city and the state.

Every interior light on the KC campuses will be upgraded to use LED lights. All the gym lights will be replaced, and the difference in Masters Gym will be “very noticeable,” Sheard said. Those lights also will be instant on-off lights, so they will not require a warm-up time before reaching full illumination.

For some, the light fixtures themselves will need to be replaced.

The Devall Student Center Ballroom will have its dimmable lights restored.

In addition to lights, toilets will be retrofitted with new flush valves or replaced to help with water conservation. In total, 299 toilets will be replaced across both campuses. New low flow shower heads and faucet flow restrictors will also be added to bathrooms.

KC facilities will be placed on a direct digital control system that will help promote energy savings by controlling temperature and humidity settings.

The system will also help KC staff identify and address problems throughout the campuses in a timely manner before any complaints from students or employees.

Each building will be weatherized to protect against the cold or hot weather outside penetrating the buildings. Exterior windows will be fitted with solar thermal window films also to help control how much heat goes out or comes into rooms.

In total, Kilgore College expects utility savings of $625,210 annually.

To fund the $18.6 million project, Kilgore College has applied for a $15 million loan from State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) that comes with a 1 percent interest rate. The loan is a 15-year loan that KC would begin paying back following the completion of the work in 18 months.

That still leaves $3.6 million to cover, though. That funding can come from various sources, KC Vice President of Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer Fred Gore said. Those avenues are to use reserve funds, available operating funds, another loan from a local bank or a combination of those options.

The SECO loan will be approved after representatives review the project and visit KC. Even then, some projects will not be covered by the SECO loan and will need to come from the $3.6 million additional funding, so timing of the projects will determine when the additional $3.6 million will need to be ready.

“I’m very pleased with the action of the board last night,” Gore said. “Obviously as staff and administration we feel that these are vital to the college in maintaining a great campus for our students… They may not be the most sensational projects, but at the same time extremely necessary for us and probably overdue.”

HEALDINE: KC moves forward with McKinstry energy saving recommendations

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