District 35 calls for geothermal bids
Three drilling machines like this one are likely to show up on the Central School athletic field this summer.|Photo courtesy Green Associates architects, Deerfield.
Updated: February 25, 2013 11:45AM
GLENCOE — Elementary School District 35 has called for bids on its literally ground-breaking plans to convert Central School climate control to geothermal power.
Several School Board decisions intentionally remain undecided, however, awaiting the results of bids on various alternatives, which are expected to arrive by Feb. 5.
Among the decisions are whether Misner Auditorium’s heating system will be brought up to date along with the rest of the building. The difference between inclusion and not is now estimated by consultants at $368,000, up about $100,000 in the last month.
The estimates for the entire project are up: about $200,000 to a total of $4.9 million for the “with Misner” version, and rising about $100,000 to $4.6 million without the auditorium. Both, in part, reflect the possibility of splitting the job over two years, which is another decision the Board is expected to make after the bids come in.
Though the total cost estimate has risen substantially, the district’s actual out-of-pocket estimates have increased less than $100,000, as architect Colin Marshall and consultant Jeff Chamberlin say they are now confident of a total of $375,000 in government clean-energy grants, $200,000 more than before.
The estimate of the cost of digging the 500-foot-deep holes in the ground that make the system go has dropped, too. The pair agree that instead of drilling 120 holes, only 108 are needed.
They figure that it would take a 95-degree day, in which Misner was in use all day, to necessitate that much capacity, and they doubt that’s ever going to happen.
If the bids come in considerably higher than estimated, the project could still be called off or postponed.
Splitting the construction work into two years may be preferable, if cost-effective, because the noise of the three drills working simultaneously might be distracting to the students. A two-year project would confine drilling to the summers.
Though loud, drilling might not be as bad for the neighbors as for the students, Chamberlin, of Schaumburg’s 20/10 Engineering Group said, because the property is screened from houses by vegetation, and the drills will be farther from houses than from the school.
Residents’ sleep won’t be bothered much, because village ordinances confine noisemaking work to between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays.
The decibel level notwithstanding, the work is “a big distraction” for students, Chamberlin said.
“Everybody’s going to want to watch.”