Auburn schools to go green, get sidewalks

Board of trustees meeting scheduled for Feb. 8
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Students in the Auburn Union School District will soon see their campuses become greener and may have an easier time walking to school. An update on two new projects, the solar project and the Palm Avenue Sidewalk project are on the agenda for the Feb. 8 Board of Trustees meeting. School officials say both are there expected to be completed by summer 2012. “The sidewalk project is actually a City (of Auburn) project and they have a safe routes to school grant,” said Monica Williams, Chief Business Officer for the Auburn Union School District. “We are going to have a representative from the city there to talk about the project and answer any questions.” Williams said the sidewalk will be along the south side of Palm Avenue and address a dangerous spot for kids walking to E.V. Cain Charter Middle School. “There is absolutely no place for students to walk except in the street there,” Williams said. The district is expected to save a total of $43,000 on its power bill after solar power is installed this summer. Williams said the district has contracted with IEC Renewables, which will install solar panels at each of the four school sites at no cost to the district. In exchange, the district will use IEC as its power supplier. “We pay for power anyhow. There is a cost for the power, but we estimate in the first year we would save $43,000 on our power bill,” Williams said. “Not only are we going green, but we are also reducing costs.” IEC is also installing retrofitted lighting upgrades for more efficient lighting. Williams said with lean school budgets the savings come at a great time. “We are pretty excited about it,” Williams said. “It’s just savings that we need right now. It’ll be something we don’t have to cut.” Reach Sara Seyydin at