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West moving ahead on geothermal system at Smith Elementary

Updated: May 6, 2012 8:12AM

AURORA — Plans are moving forward on a proposal to create a geothermal heating and cooling system for Smith Elementary School.

The West Aurora School Board this week discussed hiring a firm to install the system for $1.3 million. Smith was chosen as the location because the district had grant money that fit the project, and could only be used at that school, said Pete Kerl, assistant superintendent for operations.

The system allows the flexibility of being able to both heat and cool the building, Kerl said.

“It’s a great green option for us,” said Superintendent James Rydland.

While initially expensive, the geothermal system would save the district about $40,000 a year on heating and cooling costs. Board member Mark Bradford suggested saving those funds until there was enough money to bring another geothermal system on line in the district.

“It’s certainly an interesting idea to create a green fund,” Rydland said.

Kerl said he liked the idea of having geothermal in more of the facilities, but was concerned about the district’s funding with the state of Illinois.

“If we’re going to have money reduced every year, it becomes tougher and tougher to have money set aside,” he said.

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