The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 25, 2013

Crowder trustees give green light to energy-savings contract

NEOSHO, Mo. — The Crowder College Board of Trustees on Thursday gave the go-ahead to develop an energy-savings performance contract with Schneider Electric, based in Palatine, Ill.

Peter Hinkle, with the company, made a presentation to the board. He said the contract is a way to implement energy-savings projects by using the savings to repay the debt on the projects.

“We have to make sure everything we do has a positive result on the learning environment,” Hinkle said.

The company would write a check to the college if the guaranteed savings it promises aren’t realized. Hinkle said the company has written 31 checks since the program started in 1997. He said that since it doesn’t want to continue writing checks, the company repairs the problem causing the missed estimate.

Projects mentioned that may be included in a contract are heating, ventilation and air conditioning replacement at the gym, Smith Hall and Newton Hall. Replacement of the windows at Newton Hall may be included, and the gym roof could be redone.

Hinkle said other projects could include building automation systems, lighting and lighting controls, and computer and network power management.

“When we talk about lighting controls, the real benefit is it turns lights off when nobody’s there,” Hinkle said.

One cost estimate for the projects is $1.7 million, with a total energy and maintenance savings over 15 years of nearly $2.3 million. Payments over that period would total $2.1 million.

Jim Cummins, vice president of finance at Crowder, said the college might consider a 10-year repayment schedule with its own financing.

Cummins said the next step would be to prepare the financing and finalize construction projects to prepare for consideration of the contract at the September meeting.

On another matter, the board approved Cummins’ recommendation of Nabholz Construction Services, based in Arkansas, as the construction manager on new dorms. The company would work with the architect to develop the plans before bids are sought and would serve as job superintendent when a contract is awarded.

Glenn Coltharp, vice president for curriculum, told the trustees that the college can better analyze student data on which to base its decisions. Measurements include persistence to graduation and student success.

“What a great thing to have, if we can do this,” said Andy Wood, board president.

Jim Riggs, admissions director, said applications for the fall semester have increased by 15 percent since last year, so there may be a run on enrollments before school starts.

“Our recruiting efforts are going to be more than doubled in Northwest Arkansas,” he said.

The board increased to $5,000 the limit on which competitive bids must be sought for products and services, and to $10,000 the limit for advertised bids. The previous limit of $500 had been in place since 1963.

“Every 50 years, you have to change,” said Wood.

“Whether you want to or not,” said Jim Tatum, a 50-year board member.

Head count

FOR THE SUMMER SEMESTER, enrollment at Crowder College increased by 9.8 percent, from 1,438 to 1,579. Full-time enrollment increased by 16.4 percent, from 499 to 581.

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