The Hatboro-Horsham School District in Montgomery County won a hefty $2 million dollar grant to build a new, energy efficient school, but the district has long way to go before the school is built.
The grant, announced along with 12 other projects approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s (CFA) last week, was funded through the state’s Alternative and Clean Energy (ACE) Program and would provide partial funding to build a new Hallowell Elementary School along Easton Road in Horsham.
But while $2 million may sound like a lot of money, the grant covers only 9.2 percent of the total project cost -- an estimated $20 million.
Assistant Superintendent of the Hatboro-Horsham School District Monica Taylor says the district has yet to begin securing the additional funds needed to complete the project.
In fact, the school board has not voted on the plan to build what would be the new Hallowell Elementary School, and the deed to the proposed property that the school would be built on — a former U.S. Army Reserve Center — has yet to be transferred to the district.
“We’re not there yet. We’ve undergone a feasibility study and some construction planning, but we are still waiting for the conveyance of the army property to the school district to be completed. Once we’ve actually secured the property, we can look at next steps,” Taylor said.
Depending on when funding for the project is secured, the district could be replacing the existing nearly 52-year-old Hallowell Elementary School building with a new, state-of-the-art facility that would include energy efficient lighting, a geothermal HVAC system, and low-flow water fixtures that would save the district more than130,000 gallons of water each year.
The district estimates the building could be ready for students and teachers to move in by the 2015-2016 school year.
Ultimately, Taylor says, whenever the school is built, the grant will help curb the district’s cost of making sure the building is energy efficient.
"The grant was approved so that when we do construction we’ll be able to make sure its energy efficient,” she said. “Obviously we always want to be energy conscious. This presents an opportunity to do that with this building and going forward, we want to always be responsible to the environment."
CFA spokesman Lyndsay Frank says the school district originally applied for the grant in July, and went through a competitive selection process before gaining approval for the grant.
The CFA manages $295 million of the $600 million authorized under the AEIA. To date, $167 million have been committed to alternate energy-related projects.