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Geothermal work at schools nearly done in Oregon

Published: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

OREGON – With temperatures reaching the 90s this week, students and staff at two Oregon school buildings will be glad the new heating-and-cooling system is almost in place.

Superintendent Tom Mahoney said Monday that although the geothermal wells at Oregon elementary and high schools are not yet fully operational, the buildings will be cooled by the new system installed over the summer.

“Cooling is occurring at the construction locations, but only one is fully hooked up to the geothermal,” he said. “The others are being cooled only by the chillers and will be looped into the geothermal as soon as possible.”

Chevron Energy Solutions installed geothermal energy systems over the summer to provide new heating, cooling and ventilation to portions of Oregon Elementary School and all of Oregon High School.

“The infrastructure and operational efficiency of the buildings will vastly improve, creating a more reliable environment for students and staff and annual cost savings of at least $10,000,” according to a news release from KMK Media, the district’s public relations firm.

D.L Rahn Junior High in Mount Morris was not included in the geothermal project because it has a newer heating system than the two other schools. It is, however, slated to be considered for air-conditioning next year.

The geothermal system is the biggest share of a $7.5 million Health and Life Safety project approved by the school board last year.

Other projects included new wiring and phone system district-wide, and secured entrances at all three buildings.

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