South-Western City Schools has embarked on three energy-conservation projects that are expected to save the district about $533,000 per year when completed.

South-Western City Schools has embarked on three energy-conservation projects that are expected to save the district about $533,000 per year when completed.

The bulk of the annual savings, $434,000, is expected to come from reduced electricity consumption following lighting and air conditioning upgrades, district spokesperson Sandy Nekoloff said July 15.

Boiler replacements are expected to save the district about $59,000 in natural gas costs.

The projects also are expected to reduce annual maintenance costs by $40,000, Nekoloff said.

The projects will cost about $2.56 million. The district will use money from $6.5 million in unvoted qualified school construction bonds provided through the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

Electrical Service Professional Inc. submitted the low bid, $1.48 million, for various interior lighting upgrades in the district.

The only other bid was from Dernier Electric, at $1.63 million.

Muetzel Plumbing was the lowest of three bidders to replace boilers at Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods elementary schools and Grove City and Westland high schools. Muetzel bid $982,000 on the project.

Farber Mechanical Contractors bid $990,000 while TP Mechanical bid $1.1 million.

The third contract, to replace boilers at Franklin Heights High School and Brookpark, Finland and Norton middle schools, was awarded to Farber. That company had the low bid of $658,000, compared to $778,000 from TP.

The school board approved the contracts July 11.

Board member Randy Reisling asked how long these projects would take.

Mark Waller, the district's property services director, told the board the work on electrical upgrades should start in a couple of weeks and be completed by Nov. 1. Work on the boiler replacements could start in a week or so and be done by Sept. 1.

Waller said after the meeting work remains to be done on other energy-saving projects, such as replacing air-conditioning units at Grove City and Westland high schools. Those projects could be bid out early next year with work to begin next June when school is out, he said.

The board also renewed a contract with Sabo-Limbach for energy-monitoring services and declared an urgent necessity, waiving competitive bidding, in awarding a contract to Rinehart Tower Service Inc., to construct a 130-foot communications tower at the transportation center on Southwest Boulevard.

Sabo-Limbach has had contracts with the district since the 1995-96 school year. It will be paid $22,925 for monitoring services for the 2011-12 school year.

Board member Karen Dover told the board the company has a good record of helping the district save money.

"An example could be shown through the electric purchase program. Since 2009, we've saved over $500,000 on our electric bill" by working with Sabo-Limbach, Dover said.

The district needs to upgrade its radio communication system and a bigger tower is needed to deal with changes in radio bands and other issues. School officials want to have the new tower in place by the start of the new school year and asked the board to authorize a contract with Rinehart for $59,953.

The board also approved hiring Tresa Davis as assistant principal at Norton Middle School, effective Aug. 1.

Davis currently is an assistant principal at Westland High School and the change is considered a lateral move. She will be paid $84,577 a year.