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KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education has earmarked $650,000 for its 25% share of the cost of the next phase of the ongoing schools’ energy savings project.

Superintendent of Schools Troy Ravenscroft will make a presentation to the state School Building Authority in November for the other 75% the county needs for the second phase, he told the board members Wednesday.

Phase 1 of the $5.35 million project has been completed with a new geothermal system installed at Frankfort High this past summer, solar panels at New Creek Primary and the Mineral County Technical Center, as well as new and upgraded controls for the systems.

The schools are already seeing energy savings, Project Manager Brian Duvall of CMTA Energy Solutions said at a recent board meeting.

The work is part of upgrades and renovations planned for all schools in the county. It is being funded through a 15-year lease-purchase contract with CMTA that is being paid from grants, loans, the county school general fund, as well as the energy savings to be realized over the next 15 years, according to school officials, who said they are looking at long-term savings and efficiency.

At Wednesday’s school board meeting, Treasurer Rhonda Martin reviewed the carryover funds from school year 2018-19, which ended June 30.

She said of that $1.7 million, $650,000 has been earmarked for Phase 2 of the energy project that will focus on upgrades, repairs and renovations at Keyser and Frankfort middle schools.

Ravenscroft said Mike Hall of the School Building Authority visited recently and reviewed the projects for Phase 2.

“He said that he didn’t think they would have the funds they anticipated this year,” Ravenscroft said. “He did indicate that he thought it would be a good project if the funds are available.”

Ravenscroft said the SBA has prior commitments for some of its funding.

Board members questioned whether they could use the county share without the SBA funds and how much of the need would be able to be met. Ravenscroft said the $650,000 could be used for some of the items on the project list but they could not do all of them without the SBA money.

The board members reviewed other aspects of the budget presented by Martin.

Board member Rob Woy said he is still concerned about ways to save money, questioning one item for board approval. That was a request for the introduction of a robotics club at Frankfort High School.

“It is a club, so are they going to come and ask for travel funds,” he asked, noting a competition the club wants to participate in at Fairmont.

Woy said he understands that the board is responsible for the funding of club sponsors. “A lot of clubs do their own fundraising,” he added.

In recent months the board has approved curtailing travel expenses, especially travel out of state.

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