Graves County schools getting energy efficient upgrades

Like Kentucky weather, the temperature inside Mark Mallory’s English class can change in an instant.

“Basically has two temperatures. Extremely warm and mildew moist,” Mallory said.

He has an interior room, so circulation is extremely limited.  Next year, he’ll be able to manually control the temperature as part of the district’s $9 million energy project. “My wardrobe is completely opposite of what the weather is outside. I wear winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter.”

Graves County District Maintenance Director John Oldham said the high school is getting new a heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit. The current one is 30 years old —10 years older than its life expectancy.  “Exterior rooms need heat. Interior rooms need air. But, we can only do one or the other. We can’t do both with what we have right now,” Oldham said.

The elementary schools are also getting a makeover. At Farmington, new LED lights were installed. Oldham said it keeps students more focused. “It’s a lot more efficient. A lot brighter. It’s more of a daytime light like you would see outside rather than artificial light that you would see in most buildings now,” Oldham told Local 6.

Oldham said the LEDs will now shine brighter in classrooms, halls and in gyms. At the high school, Mallory said the temperature change makes a big difference in student achievement. “When it starts getting too warm or too cold, it’s really hard to get students to concentrate,” he said. 

Oldham expects to have all the work complete before the start of next school year. Oldham told Local 6 the energy savings from the project will pay for about half the cost. The school is expecting to save $5 million over the next 20 years.

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