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Statement of Project Objectives (SOPO)

Statement of Project Objectives (SOPO)

St. Maries School District #41 serves the communities of St. Maries, Fernwood, Santa, and Emida. The District itself covers 714 square miles. The population within the School District is approximately 954 students. The transportation department travels over 182,930 miles per school year in total to pick up and drop students for four schools.

The goal of this project is to provide HVAC system upgrades to Heyburn Elementary, Upriver Elementary, St. Maries Middle School, and St. Maries High School to provide reliable, energy efficient, long-lasting systems for the community. Full HVAC system upgrades will improve indoor air quality and ensure space temperature conditions for the long term, all while saving energy and, thus, money in the maintenance and operations budgets. Window and light replacements are needed in most buildings in the District. This impacts performance for both student and staff. Many of the windows are single pane windows that provide very little insulation. Improving the windows and/or lights in the building would reduce the energy needed in day-to-day operation.

Nearly one half of students in St. Maries elementary schools and more than one-third of secondary students come from socio-economically disadvantaged homes. School is often the only time in their day that they are warm, comfortable, and fed. Safe, well lit, and healthy schools must be a priority.

This project takes a comprehensive approach to improving energy efficiency, health, and safety of facilities within St. Maries School District. As part of this project a comprehensive operations and maintenance plan will include training for the district's staff to ensure proper maintenance and operations of the newly installed improvements for the life of the facilities.

A.   Technical Scope Summary

Although the timeline of when each of these different projects will happen is yet to be determined, a basic breakdown of what work will happen in order to ensure safe, well lit, and healthy schools will include:

1)        Envelope upgrades

a.      Envelope sealing

b.      Siding and drainage improvements

c.       New exterior windows

d.      Roofing upgrades

e.      Exterior door upgrades

2)      HVAC Mechanical upgrades:

a.      Installation of air source heat pump chillers with heat recovery to generate heating hot water and chilled water

b.      Fresh air ventilation with Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV) and Variable Air Volume (VAV) boxes

c.       Installation of air-source heat pump rooftop units with electric resistance heating and energy recovery system for school gymnasium

d.      Installation of Makeup Air Unit (MAU) and new exhaust system for CTE shop building


3)      HVAC Controls upgrades:

a.      Better building automation controls overall

b.      CO2 sensors and demand control ventilation that ties into ERVs and MAUs

4)      Electrical upgrades:

a.      New incoming electrical service that will handle the added electrical load and be sized and specified properly such that solar panels could be added in the future, if the school district so chooses

b.      Electrical resistance heating (as stated above)

c.       Electrical connection to all new equipment and safe disconnect of and proper demolition of abandoned equipment

Envelope upgrades will include envelope sealing with siding and drainage improvements at the High School to eliminate mold growth potential.

All schools are under ventilated and will be brought up to code required ventilation rates at each school. Completing these improvements will reduce the building energy use while still increasing the amount of ventilation air provided for student health. The proposed systems will also eliminate the use of fossil fuels, specifically fuel oil that is one of the highest emitting fuel sources still in operation. The community and local economy are primarily driven by timber production, processing, and various supporting businesses. There are four (4) pellet biomass facilities currently in North Idaho that utilize waste wood products for pellet fuel. For community benefit and carbon footprint reduction, pellet burning systems will be utilized as augmented components to the electric heat pump system. If properly designed for future expansion, the systems are very scalable with the ability to expand by simply adding more heat pump units and more pellet boiler capacity to the heating and chilled water loops. It is critical to ensure that loop pipe sizing and pumping is large enough to accommodate future expansion. The district currently has a pellet boiler system at Heyburn elementary and therefore has the knowledge and experience to operate this type of equipment.


Heating hot water is currently generated through the burning of fossil fuels (heating oil as one example) and cooling does not exist at any of the schools. The heat pump systems will have pellet biomass boilers to generate hot water when low outside air temperatures reduce heat pump capacity and efficiency. This will allow downsizing of the heat pump and ensure use is maximized.

The final result will be a fully commissioned, verifiably energy efficient, and healthy building for all students, teachers, and staff across St. Maries School District. The steps to get there include:

1.      Project Development - Complete preliminary design, contractor pricing, energy calculations and measurement & verification (M&V) plan.

The project developer will engage with the school district to ensure the district provides input at all stages of design and development. The construction project manager will be integrated to assist with project pricing. The scope of this performance period includes the assembly of a consultant team including a biomass design consultant, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, structural engineer, and architect. This team, along with construction personnel, will develop schematic design and rough order of magnitude pricing with options to assist the district in early decision making. Decisions impact project cost, system capacity, redundancy, energy savings, space usage, etc. Once decisions are made, design development will proceed to obtain guaranteed maximum contractor pricing. Contractors will include a select bid group that meet qualification requirements and provide design input at the guaranteed max price (GMP) stage.

Energy modeling will include the development of baseline energy models tuned to each of the St. Maries School’s utility bill data. Proposed models of the energy conservation measures (ECM) will result in guaranteed energy savings. Measurement and verification plans will be created for each ECM to verify energy savings are achieved. Preliminary construction schedules will be assembled to include final design, permitting, procurement, construction, commissioning, and closeout.

1.      Final design, permitting, and equipment procurement

The construction team is led by a Project Manager, supported by a Project Engineer, and a Site Superintendent. This team will manage the completion of design, permitting, and contractor procurement. This performance period will include the completion of design documents to 90% before permit sets are issued. A final RFP amongst the group of qualified contractors who submitted a GMP will occur. All state and local permits will be obtained to complete the mechanical, electrical, and building envelope work. After permit comments are incorporated 100% construction documents will be created. Submittals will include design team review and client review to provide another opportunity for client input. Equipment that has a long lead time will be identified early and orders placed in time to allow for shipping to the job site when it will be needed for the schedule.


2.      Construction – Phase 1

The same construction team will take on construction, commissioning, and closeout for the projects that will fit best during the first time slot that makes the most sense to ensure that student learning will not be impacted. This is likely to be Summer 2024 for all building envelope work, including roofs, windows, and siding. The construction schedule will be updated with more detailed long lead information and specific construction tasks.

3.      Construction – Phase 2

Similar to above, but likely to occur in Summer 2025 and include the HVAC and controls upgrades as well as the associated electrical work, including service upgrades, alongside those pieces.


4.      Commissioning

Commissioning tasks will begin during the tail end of each construction phase and conclude after all documented items are addressed, and a final report provided.

5.      Turnover and Performance Assurance

Construction turnover and closeout will initially include the delivery of closeout documents and O&M manuals. At this point construction transition work begins. This phase ensures a smooth

transition from construction to operation and includes extensive training of the district staff, creation of a preventative maintenance plan, lists of spare parts to stock, and the inclusion of ongoing check-ins to provide additional training or support. If the district desires a service contract after the warranty period can be included to augment the district facility staff. Energy performance will also be measured and verified to ensure guaranteed savings are being met or if adjustments or modifications are required to achieve savings. Ongoing active energy management will be included to ensure persistence of energy savings is accomplished