The Eldora-New Providence School Board discussed repairs to the school district’s wind turbine generator during Monday’s regular meeting.
Opening the new business portion of the session, E-NP Superintendent Jay Mathis said a school maintenance employee could hear bearings “going out” and contacted Joe Knudtson, a representative with Vestes – American Wind Technology (Ventura). That company holds the school district’s wind turbine service contract.
“He (Knudtson) said one option would be to have a crane lift a metal lathe up there and take the generator apart up top. That would be about $27,000 if things went well. The preferred option would be to have their people lift the generator out, send it to somewhere in Minnesota and have that company do the work there. That would cost $26,877,” Mathis said.
Mathis said to replace the generator, the bad equipment piece if $40,000 and the school district would also have to pay for the crane use cost, which amounts to roughly $10,900. Factoring in labor costs ($6,000), the bill would likely land at $56,900.
“His recommendation was to have the generator removed and ship it to their vendor to refurbish it,” Mathis said.
Board member Jay Stanish asked how long a refurbished generator would last, compared to purchasing a new one. Mathis said there is a warranty on the work, likely at least one year.
“If they are refurbishing, they are not refurbishing everything. They are just putting new shafts in,” Board Member Jared Cook. “Would the new one have similar equipment inside, or would it come with the latest and greatest internals?
The current wind turbine generator has lasted 15 years.
“The basic question is, would we be smarter and more fiscally prudent to go ahead and replace the whole thing, given that some components could be subjected to stress. Are coils subjected to stress over time? I don’t know. I’m not mechanically apt. What else could go wrong?” Board Member Jay Stanish said. “Is there any advantage going with something 15 years newer?”
The E-NP Board voted to table the matter until Knudtson could answer some of the school district’s questions.
In other business, the board revisited discussion on the purchase of elementary and high school building LED hallway lights. Last month, Mathis told the board he wanted to take advantage of Alliant Energy rebates that offered to switch old fluorescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs in the hallways and commons areas. Two bids were discussed, one from Ben Speck Electric for $8,217.50; and the other from Havens Electric for $7,745.25. Mathis said the school district would likely receive at least $4,105.50 in rebates for the work.
Board member Nancy Callaway made the motion to approve the bid from Speck Electric.
“At the risk of making waves, I would recommend we accept Ben Speck’s bid simply for the PR (public relations) thing. I think they are equally capable. Ben (Speck) is an E-NP grad, which should not weigh either way,” Callaway said.
The board approve the bid.
The board also briefly discussed the planned joint board meeting with the Hubbard-Radcliffe Board of Education. Board President Maggie Vander Wilt said both boards had agreed to move the date of the session to Monday, Oct. 30. The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the high school media center in Eldora.
“One thing to keep in mind is their board (H-R) is in charge of their elementary building and the middle school operations. We are in charge of our elementary and high school operations. It doesn’t mean we cannot voice concerns,” Mathis said.
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