2014-03-15 / Front Page

School district’s gamble paying off Sand transfer station set to fire up

A contracting firm that renovated the Cameron County School District’s heating, ventilation and plumbing systems and installed new football field lights three years ago is making good on its promise to save the district money.

Representatives of the Mc- Clure Company discussed cost savings from May 2012 to April 2013 with school board members this week. The figure came up about $3,000 short of projections. However, when rebates and reduced maintenance, operational and capital costs were factored in, the district came out $9,000 ahead of forecasted savings.

Cost of the project was $1.1 million. Savings were projected at $520,000 over the 15-year life of the contract after expenses.

Changes included installation of low-flow devices on sinks and toilets, a rationing plan for gas and water, lighting upgrades and controls to regulate room and water temperatures.

In other business, the school board:

• heard from high school band director Dan Sensenig that about $114,000 has been raised for the band’s trip to Hawaii in December. Initial goal was $116,000, but costs may be higher, Sensenig advised.

• discussed possible changes in policies which cover the student/ parent lunch program at Woodland

Elementary School.

• heard from elementary school teacher Ben Porkalab on a new enrichment program for gifted students. Placement is based on teacher recommendations.

• accepted an agreement with Northern Tier Community Action Corp. (NTCAC) for use of a classroom in Woodland Elementary for the Head Start program, at a rent of $800 per month.

• approved the proposed Seneca Highlands IU9 operating budget, which includes a $37,806 share paid by Cameron County School District.

• authorized Elizabeth Malizia and Michael Kunes to attend a curriculum workshop at Lock Haven University, at a cost of $716.

• accepted the resignations of Dan Sullivan as an assistant girls’ basketball coach and Jeff Wykoff as assistant softball coach. Ryan Neal was approved as a volunteer assistant softball coach.

• agreed to allow elementary school music instructor Shanna Danielson and 22 advanced band students to participate in a performance at Darien Lake, N.Y, on May 17 at a cost of $709.

• agreed to solicit bids for the sale of surplus gymnastics equipment no longer used in the physical education curriculum.

• approved the purchase of a new bass drum for the elementary school band program for $1,255.

Activity is picking up at a large sand-transfer station that’s returning to the railroad yard on Emporium’s east end.

Commissioner Glen Fiebig reported at last week’s meeting that Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad officials confirmed the facility’s imminent reopening.

“Sand cars are in place, the scales have been checked, and hydrofracturing of shale gas wells is starting very soon,” Fiebig said. “Drillers are just waiting for the weather to break.”

Increased gas drilling will result in demand for the silica sand that has been brought to Emporium by the trainload and loaded into delivery tankers, Fiebig said.

The railroad partnered with Schlumberger, a worldwide energy services company, to launch the terminal almost three years ago. Operations got underway, but didn’t last long as drilling activity fell off. The owners heard complaints from nearby residents who were bothered by the noise and lights of the late-night operations.

Fiebig said gas wells near Portable Hollow, Sterling Run and North Creek are among the sites that are expected to be serviced by the sand station.

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