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School Board seeks $250,000 TVA grant

The Warren County School Board is hoping to save local taxpayers a quarter million dollars through a TVA grant which would help on projects already earmarked to go forward.
The board voted unanimously during a special-called meeting Thursday night to apply for the Tennessee Valley Authority grant. The program, as explained School Board chairman Bill Zechman, is actually a legal settlement by TVA for a lawsuit brought against it regarding the clean air act. As part of the settlement, TVA has to return $350 million to its service area. The grant for which Warren County will be applying is part of that settlement.
“If we don’t claim our fair share then it’s going elsewhere,” said Zechman, noting the school system will still get TVA funds to help with its upgrade from T12 to more energy efficient T8 lighting even if the grant is approved.
The School Board opted to ask for the maximum $250,000 available from the grant. The money will be requested to help offset costs with the Warren County Middle School HVAC system. School officials say the heating and air system at the middle school is in deplorable condition and the new system will begin saving thousands in energy costs.
The project is set to cost $688,750, not counting engineering fees. Warren County’s part of the project, once engineering fees are added, would drop to $507,525 if the grant is received.
“It’s a no-lose situation,” said Bill Rogers of Caney Fork Electric, who was at the meeting.
Director of Schools Bobby Cox noted applying for the grant would not affect the schedule for the project which is set for 2013-14 since money has already been appropriated from county funds. Should the school system get the grant then the quarter million dollar savings could be used for other projects.
The emergency meeting was called because the first application must be submitted by Jan. 31. The school system should know by mid-February if it will be chosen to submit a full grant request.

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