High School Might Get Geothermal System

Macomb, IL – The school colors at Macomb High are black and orange. But the district hopes to make the building green.

The Board of Education approved a plan to heat and cool the building with a green energy system, such as geothermal. Superintendent Alene Reuschel says the current system is at least a couple decades old.

"The old technology is just not working," says Reuschel. "So this will be an opportunity for us to realize some real energy savings."

Reuschel says the district has already realized savings from the geothermal systems installed at Lincoln and Edison schools.

Reuschel believes the geothermal system will make it easier to cool the high school during warm months. "The comfort level is important. It makes a huge difference," says Reuschel. "The heat can be a real detriment for children. So from a health standpoint, from a comfort standpoint, and quite frankly from an energy standpoint it makes good sense to explore that (geothermal)."

The estimated cost of the project is $6,145,800.

The school board also approved Fire & Life Safety projects at four other buildings during its special meeting on August 31. Those buildings are Lincoln, Edison, and MacArthur schools and the Washington Street Gym.

The estimated price tag for all the work is $7,000,000. The district plans to issue bonds to cover the cost. A public hearing on the bond sale will be held during the school board's regular monthly meeting on September 21.

In addition, the projects still need approval from the Illinois State Board of Education. Reuschel hopes the ISBE gives its blessing by the beginning of October.

Reuschel says the projects will be done in phases.