Delsea considers bright idea for solar project
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
By Stephanie Brown

FRANKLIN TWP. Delsea Regional school district officials are set to discuss a roofing project that includes installing solar energy panels on the middle school.

Garrison Architects of Mount Laurel Township is expected to present preliminary plans for the estimated $6 million project during a public meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 7 p.m., at Delsea Regional High School's media center.

Plans include replacing 40,000 square feet of roofing on the high school, roof repairs to the bus garage which sustained damage last year, and a new roof on the middle school with approximately 900 solar panels.

Superintendent Frank Borelli said the board's Facilities Committee has received a draft of the project, but that the board, as a whole, has not reviewed it. "This is really the first stage," said Borelli. "If we receive support on Wednesday, than we'll refine the project."

Initial estimates put the cost of the project at $6 million, but Borelli said the district may be to do it for under $2 million with funding from the state Department of Education and Board of Public Works. He said the state Department of Education provides funding for approved projects, in the form of debt service, and the Bureau of Public Utilities provides rebates for solar energy projects.

"In five to six years, we believe it will pay for itself," Borelli said.

The board could decide as early as next month when the project would go to the voters in a referendum.

"Our goal, I think in our minds, would be to get it approved as soon as possible," said Borelli, who added that the project would have to take place during the summer.

The district previously had planned to work with the School Construction Corporation on a solar energy project. However, those plans fell through last year after the SCC, which did everything from selecting an architect and contractors to overseeing the construction, exhausted the funds appropriated through the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act of 2000.


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