Eastpointe Community Schools recently completed a $2.4 million infrastructure improvement effort to improve facilities in the district and save money.
The improvement efforts were done in conjunction with Siemens Smart Infrastructure, which assessed the needs of the district and helped it determine what improvements could be made while remaining fiscally responsible.
“It’s water, lights, heating and cooling, and other energy saving measures,” said district spokesperson Caitlyn Kienitz. “It will conserve a lot of money in costs. They did a survey of needs in the district, and this is what they determined what the most effective improvements would be. It will be paid for by the money we will save via these improvements.”
The district expects the project to save more than $190,000 in energy and operating expenses each year.
“This project has allowed us to make some much-needed improvements to our facilities, which will improve student comfort at no additional cost to the school community,” Robert Carlesso, the district’s executive director of business and operations, stated in a press release.
The Eastpointe Board of Education approved the proposal in December 2018. Most of the work was done over the summer, prior to the start of classes. The remainder of the work is expected to be finished by the end of October.
“There were two reasons to do this,” said Superintendent Ryan McLeod. “We wanted to upgrade our older system, which had higher maintenance costs, and we also wanted to improve the environment for our students. Anything we can do to improve our students’ quality of life is something we want to look into.”
The work will include changes to utility usage in district buildings.
“All of our lights across the district are being converted to LEDs, and this includes classrooms, hallways and even the parking lot,” McLeod said. “There are two other areas we are changing as well. We’re putting in some water controls so different devices and faucets will control flow rates, and putting environmental controls in place.”
He said the water and heating and cooling improvements will mean more comfortable classrooms.
“Our buildings are a little older, so our heating and cooling units would be controlled from one control, so you would have 10 classrooms, but the ones closer to the boiler would be warmer than those at the end, for instance,” said McLeod. “That would make one at the end very warm or the one at the other end very cold. It was a waste of energy to try and even this all out. These new controls will allow us to have more individual control for each classroom.”
McLeod added that the improvements also will contribute to the environmental and conservation efforts the district has taken in recent years.
“We want to move toward being more green,” he said. “Several of our schools take part in green programs already, and this is another step we can take to contribute to those efforts.”
He described the move as an all-around win for the district.
“With LEDs, the quality of the light is better and the cost of running the lights are better. Reducing the amount of water you use will obviously save us on water bills, and the heating and cooling changes will allow us to keep temperatures more consistent, as well as more comfortable,” explained McLeod. “We were able to do all of this without asking for more tax money — it will be paid for with the money we save — so it’s all the better because of that.”