TEUTOPOLIS — The Teutopolis Unit 50 School Board heard presentations this week about a memorial in front of the high school and a power purchasing agreement for solar energy.
The presentation regarding the memorial was brought to the board by Tom Thoele. He showed the board a model of the proposed memorial, which he said would be displayed in the schools, banks, restaurants and churches while a member of the committee goes around raising money for the memorial.
According to Thoele, the memorial would be dedicated to all who have made it possible for those who have passed through these doors of learning and have gone on to serve God, mankind and the world. Part of the memorial would also be dedicated to Sister Mary Ethelbert Dekum, who was instrumental in the establishment of the high school, and all the children who have died while attending the Community Unit 50 school system.
Thoele said it has been agreed by all people working on the memorial project that it be a nonpaid, volunteer endeavor, with all financing for the project donated.
Board Member Troy Ozenkoski commended Thoele for bringing the concept of a memorial to the board.
“Moving forward with the memorial I think it’s a good idea,” he said.
Ozenkoski noted, however, that he had concerns about having a memorial under construction while the demolition is being done on the high school. This will be brought to the board again at the board’s next meeting.
The board also heard a presentation from Affordable Gas and Electric in regards to entering into a power purchasing agreement for solar energy, pending a review by the district’s attorney.
Superintendent Bill Fritcher said the district has worked with Affordable Gas and Electric for several years and purchase electricity from them. The agreement would be for a solar array for the junior high and would be located in a field west of the junior high.
According to Ross Calliott, Vice President of Operations at Affordable Gas and Electric, the system is projected to produce 183,163.85 kWh in the first year.
“You would essentially pay us for those kilowatt hours instead of paying Ameren and your current electric supplier,” he said, adding the district would save $131 the first year.
Calliott said by the end of the first five years, the savings would reach up to $1,000 and “significant savings” by the end of the term.
“We did not want to design a system to offset 100 percent of the current usage, because we wanted to leave room for if you retrofit lighting, update HVAC. There is headroom to get there,” he said.
According to Calliott, the figures assume that the district would buy 80 percent of its electricity from the solar array and 20 percent from the regular grid.
“Where we would continue to broker the lowest supply rates in three-, four-, five-year contracts and then you pay Ameren for your delivery of those kilowatts,” he said.
The solar array would be surrounded by a fence and would be maintained by Affordable Gas and Electric.
Board member Brad Koester wanted to see termination fees for the agreement after five years. This will be brought back to the April meeting.
In other business, the board:
• Heard from Fritcher that the district had a pre-construction meeting last week. Tebbe Excavating will begin moving a water line west of the high school soon. They will have to turn off the water in the 2002 portion of the school for two to three hours at a time when that happens. To connect the sewer line for the new addition, part of the high school parking lot will have to be torn out. Fritcher said that work would likely be done this summer, when they can reroute traffic. They are also planning to move a wall to adjust the size of a few classrooms.
• Set the date and time for the reorganizational meeting after the April 2 election for April 23 at 6 p.m.
• Discussed adding a section to the fifth grade class at Teutopolis Grade School. Fritcher said that it has been discussed for some time and it is to the point where they need to decide which direction to go.
“I don’t know if we can afford it, but I think it’s only fair to the kids to do it,” Koester said.
Crystal Reed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 131.