How one Michigan District is proving to its community that their tax dollars being used efficiently.
When Randy Fleenor took over as superintendent of Lakewood Public Schools (Ionia County) in 2012, he knew that updating the schools’ aging infrastructure would be a top priority. But there was one problem; with over $2 million in deferred maintenance at the district’s five facilities, Fleenor knew that funding that type of project would be a challenge. With boilers, controls, and other essentials near the end of their life expectancy, Fleenor began to research his options.
Like many districts, Lakewood doesn’t have a sinking fund to pull from for these types of capital investments.
“We didn’t want to go to the taxpayers,” said Fleenor. “We wanted to do our research and do this the smart way. We know like everyone else that you can only go to your tax-base so many times, and we wanted to be good stewards of public funds.”
With the future uncertain, Fleenor knew that he going out for a bond or a levee wasn’t the best option for them at the time. He wanted to keep that card in hand, saving it for potential work down the road, and wanted to show his voters that he was doing everything he could to stay off the ballot.
That’s when he met with Schneider Electric for the first time. Schneider proposed an energy savings performance contract with Lakewood. After performing an energy audit in all District buildings, Schneider designed a solution including updated LED lighting, a building automation control system, security upgrades, energy-efficient HVAC systems, a new phone system, and even new stadium lights at their athletic fields. The proposed updates will save Lakewood roughly $2 million over the next 20 years, an amount that was guaranteed by Schneider, and is enough to pay for the project itself. “It’s a win-win for us,” Fleenor said; “We’re really happy we’re leveraging our own savings and getting green.
Schneider Electric is a proud MASA partner.
For more information on how Schneider Electric can help your district visit https://www.schneider-electric.us/enable