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The Wisconsin Dells School Board heard an updated proposal on new solar panels to be installed at the high school and Spring Hill school at its Sept. 9 meeting, potentially looking to move forward in the near future.

Nick Laubusch from McKinstry Engineering was on hand to present the new proposal, following up on his presentation from July. His firm’s plan proposes two different solar photovoltaic systems, one to be installed at the new high school building and one at Spring Hill Elementary.

The Spring Hill PV system would produce 308 kilowatts of energy, while the high school system would produce 265. According to Laubusch’s presentation, after tax incentives for using renewable energy, installation of the two PV systems would cost the district $820,437.

“What we were charged with from administration is to take care of about 50% of electricity, and we’re at that right now,” Laubusch said. “We’re actually over the 50% ... it really positions Wisconsin Dells as a leader. You’ll be adding utility funds to the operating budget for the high school.”

According to Laubusch, these PV systems would provide $61,172 in annual savings on utility costs for the district. These funds could be profitably funneled toward operating costs for the new high school.

While the board did not officially move to take any action on Laubusch’s plan, response from board members was positive, and the matter will be revisited Sept. 16, when the next bid package for the new high school will be presented to the board.

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This will be the fifth bid package for the new high school, and by far the most expansive. According to district administrator Terry Slack, the budget for this newest bid package will run around $15 million, significantly more than any coming before it.

The new high school continues to meet its building goals, with the team still anticipating the school to be open for the 2020-21 year. According to Slack, masonry and walls are beginning to help the building site take shape.

“The laying of masonry block continues to take shape and provide a greater outline to the WDHS building,” Slack said in his report to the board. “Numerous walls in the gymnasium, locker room and multipurpose room areas have been completed. Next, bar trusses will be put in place above the weight room and multipurpose room.”

In other business, the school board:

Completed an internal monitoring report, finding members to be in compliance.

Accepted the resignation of special education teaching assistant Dianne Blum.

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