PASO ROBLES — Templeton Unified School District is putting Measure H12 Bond money and other funding to use this summer installing solar canopies, new outbuildings at Templeton Elementary School, constructing the new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) building/administration building at Templeton High School, and upgrading all existing lighting at district facilities.
Superintendent Joe Koski and MOTF&G Safety Coordinator Chris Bonin shared the vision, implementation and funding structures for all of these projects in a Question & Answer session with the Paso Robles Press:
PRP: Tell me about some of the current projects underway in the district this summer?
Bonin: The big STEM building project will be completed in March of 2018. That’s the Science Engineering and the Administration building along with eight classrooms. Then Templeton Elementary School modernization will get underway and include five new buildings that we will install two at a time during the school year and will move people around as the project is completed. Both are funded by Measure H 12. We are also doing a Prop 39 energy efficiency upgrade so all exterior lighting in the district will be upgraded to LED lighting. Also that Prop 39 money of about $500,000 will go toward replacing HVAC units at Vineyard Elementary and the high school. Then we are also working on two sites to install solar canopies within the district.
Koski: Chris is one busy guy. Between now and next summer there will be amazing changes.
PRP: Tell me what these solar canopies will provide and the scope of the project?
Bonin: The next project over at the high school is the installation of the solar canopies that has been started and that should be completed by Aug. 22. Also at Vineyard we are doing solar canopies out there at the same time as the high school. We can’t go off grid completely but we will be covering 80 percent of our electric bill district wide.
Koski: What we were able to establish is a virtual grid so we get credit for electricity used across the entire district even though the power is just being generated at those two locations.
PRP: How are you funding the solar project?
Koski: The solar canopies we are funding through a purchase power agreement so there’s really zero capital outlet from the district at all. We did a guaranteed electricity rate for 20 years. Chris and Aaron Aspland, our CEO, were at the front end of all of this and have done a great job. The savings that will accrue from the project will enable the funds generally used for electricity costs to go toward expanding programs and so on. It is really part of the promise we made to the community when we moved forward with the H12 Bond that we would try and make ongoing general fund reductions as a result of the upgrades.
PRP: Can you go into some detail regarding the STEM Building amenities?
Bonin: We will have all new wireless access points, LED 70-inch screens in the classrooms, exterior security cameras. The admin portion will really change the look of the school. So as you pull into the driveway of the school you will see the office with a very well lit entrance with clear story windows lots of glass. The building itself will include five science/ engineering classrooms with administration at the front of the building. Then behind the STEM building there will be eight new, relocatable classrooms installed. When all’s said and done we will be replacing the A wing and C wing.
PRP: What is the current dollar figure for the STEM Building project?
Bonin: The STEM building construction project dollar amount is $1.4 million.
PRP: What do you think these projects will bring to the district?
Koski: What I am most excited about is that our STEM academy and our career technical educational pathways are kind of the heart and soul and highlight of that kind of academics especially. So for them to have a showcase location befitting their outcomes is very nice. They have been in very small, antiquated classrooms for too long. Despite those conditions the students and staff have done an outstanding job. This project is 100 percent from the measure H12 Bond as is the modernization at Templeton Elementary School excluding the solar project. We are excited and pursuing additional funding through other avenues that could add significantly to our ability to outfit these classrooms to the degree that we want.
To learn more about these projects and other upgrades within the Templeton Unified School District, visit tusd.ca.schoolloop.com.