GCSC reaches energy savings milestone

Thursday, November 12, 2009

GREENCASTLE -- With bad news continually coming down from the state level about school funding around the state, the Greencastle Community School Corporation recently passed a savings milestone it can be proud of.

GHS teacher Mike Schimpf, who is spearheading the corporation's energy savings efforts, told the school board at its Wednesday night meeting that the corporation has saved $500,000 in energy costs since the program started in July 2006.

"We just hit $500,000 in cost avoidance around the corporation. I think that's a milestone, and a lot of people around the corporation deserve a pat on the back for that," Schimpf said.

Superintendent Bob Green agreed with Schimpf's assessment, pointing out the success comes from good leadership.

"This is a program we're very pleased with, and Mike has been the point man. We're seeing about a $140,000 a year savings." Green said.

With the success the school has been having, along with the sustainability efforts of the entire city, Duke Energy has offered the school a $10,000 energy savings grant.

The "Greencastle Schools Energy Challenge" will pit the five school buildings against one another in seeing who can conserve the highest percentage of energy during a period in January or February.

The school able to cut the highest percentage of kilowatt hours during the period will receive a $5,000 grant from Duke. All other buildings will receive $1,000. The stipulation is the money must be used for energy-conscious initiatives.

"It's pretty exciting that they are willing to offer this," Schimpf said.

He also indicated Mayor Sue Murray recently spoke to the president of Duke, who said his company has not previously had a program of this type.

The board approved the initiative without hesitation.

Board members were also treated to a special presentation from students from Ridpath Primary School. The students recently read the book "Click Clack Moo" and also took a field trip to see a performance of the story at Butler University's Clowes Memorial Hall.

The Ridpath teachers have also worked the story into their six-points writing program, with the students composing letters either from the voice of the cow in the story or as one of their own pets.

The students reading showed an advanced ability in writing for their age and a working knowledge of the writing process.

Mayor Murray has also recently met with Green to discuss resurfacing of Percy Julian Dr. next summer. In order to resurface the street, which runs in front of the high school and middle school, the city needs a drainage easement of a few feet.

Green said more details would be available, but expressed a willingness to cooperate.

"I told her we would be amenable to anything that would assure the safety of students and faculty," Green said.

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