Wiscasset School Department’s $ 1.55 Million Energy Project Underway


Suspended ceilings are being added to 13 rooms on the east side of Wiscasset High School to install new light fixtures that will support LED bulbs. (Photo by Jessica Clifford)

The contractors began work on the long-awaited Wiscasset School Department energy project at the end of June. The project consists of a series of improvements to save energy in the buildings of the department, including the installation of insulation, LED lighting and new windows.

The project will result in annual savings of approximately $ 45,000, mainly in electricity costs, according to Wiscasset School Transportation and Maintenance Department Director John Merry.

Work is taking place at Wiscasset Elementary School and Wiscasset High School, as well as at the bus garage and departmental central office.

Six contractors carry out the work. BSP Electric Inc., of Standish, performs the electrical work; ECP Building Envelope Specialists Inc., of Plattsburgh, NY, is working on insulation; Energy Management Consultants, of Cleveland, Ohio, is working on wiring the heater controls; The Lajoie brothers, from Augusta, built a new brick facade and windows at the elementary school; Portland Glass, from Damariscotta, replaces the windows; and Siemens Inc., of Scarborough, is working on heater controls.

The energy project is funded by a $ 1.55 million lease-purchase agreement with a bank for 15 years, according to former Wiscasset school department superintendent Heather Wilmot.

The Wiscasset School Department received $ 167,516 in contingency public funds for the 2017-18 school year and the Wiscasset School Board voted to use the funds for components of the energy project, according to Wilmot.

Voters rejected the Wiscasset School Department’s initial proposal for a $ 1.75 million energy-saving performance contract with Siemens Inc. at the city’s annual meeting by referendum in 2017 The committee had proposed either a lease-purchase contract or a deposit.

Before the vote, the funding was going to be a hire-purchase contract because it didn’t require a vote from the city. However, the Wiscasset Board of Selectmen urged the school committee to take the matter to the city meeting because of the high cost.

Siemens Inc.’s engineer and project manager Brian Rancourt visits the school periodically, but Merry primarily oversees the project. He said the job was about 30 to 35 percent complete.

Before school starts in the fall, the project will be “significantly completed”. Contractors will have completed all work in the classrooms and any remaining work in hallways, offices or closets will be completed by evening.

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In total, the project will replace around 1,980 luminaires to support LED bulbs. Most of the project savings will come from replacing 32 or 40 watt bulbs with 8 watt bulbs. All new lights will have motion detectors and will automatically turn off and off once people leave the area.

At Wiscasset Middle High, suspended ceilings are added to 13 classrooms on the east side of the school to mount the new light fixtures, Merry said. The large coffered lights in some rooms of the school, such as the library, will also be replaced.

A total of 42 new windows are almost completely installed on the west side of the back of the school. Old wood frame windows are being replaced with vinyl frames because they offer better insulation and less maintenance.

Other work will include the installation of a Viessmann propane boiler in the boiler room to provide hot water to the bathrooms and the kitchen. This boiler is added to the other new boiler.

At Wiscasset Elementary School, light fixtures and LED bulbs are still being changed and the caulking on poorly sealed windows in the front and back of the school is being replaced.

A new brick facade and vinyl framed windows were installed on the west facade of the elementary school.

A change was made to a unit fan, used for heating and cooling, to regulate the flow of water through the machine and allow the school to turn off a single unit instead of each unit on the first floor .

The ministry’s central office will have a new furnace to replace the building’s original furnace, and insulation will be added in a crawl space near the roof.

At the bus garage, the ministry will install an electric pump, which will more efficiently provide heating and air conditioning to the driver’s room, office and bathrooms.

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