Red Clay Consolidated School District officials and students were joined by Gov. Jack Markell and several other special guests during a ceremony to kick-off two major district wide projects May 29 at A.I. DuPont High School.
The Major Capital Improvement Plan, which was approved by voters in February 2012, is a $120 million project that will finance renovations to a number of schools throughout the district.
Assistant Superintendent Ted Ammann said the project will be complete over a course of phases.
"The first phase of the project will include improvements to the HVAC systems, security systems, and the annex will be connect to the rest of the high school making it one main campus," he said.
The plan will also cover the cost of a new elementary school, which will be named Cooke Elementary School in honor of one of the district's retired principles.
The second project will provide $20 million in upgrades and renovations to district buildings, in an effort to save energy. The Energy Efficiency for Tomorrow Project was made possible through a collaboration of efforts between the Red Clay Consolidated School District, the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility, and Seiberlich Trane.
The renovations, which include indoor air quality improvements, water conservation fixtures and lighting retrofits, will increase the energy efficiencies of the schools and improve the environmental impact of the district.
The project will take two years to complete and will be paid for by the energy savings they produce. The savings are guaranteed through Seiberlich Trane.
"The improvements will give us better control of our systems," Ammann said. "We will be able to make sure we aren't wasting energy in classrooms that aren't being used. There are over 1,000 classrooms in the district so that will really add up."
The Energy Efficiency for Tomorrow Project will also be used as a learning tool. Groups of students, known as the BTU Crew, will monitor the energy use and conservation in each building.
District Superintendent Mervin Daugherty said he is excited for the energy savings project, calling it beneficial from both a financial and educational standpoint.
"The project will allow us to save money for years to come and of course that is a good thing," he said. "But it is also important that we teach our students the importance of saving energy. That is something they will need to know later in life."
According to officials, the project will provide a boost to the local economy through construction contracts and job opportunities. There will be more than 100 jobs created throughout the duration of the project, 80 percent of which will be filled by Delaware companies.
Gov. Markell said the Energy Efficiency for Tomorrow Project is will bring the community together.
"It is a win for the environment, school district's budget, people's health, and will put Delawareans to work," he said. "This is one of those projects that can't happen unless everyone works together."