Education

Sparta Board of Education Going Ahead with Revised Solar Project

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Superintendent Dennis Tobin discusses the revised solar plan Credits: Jennifer Dericks
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Sparta Middle School will have ground mounted solar panels. Credits: Jennifer Dericks
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Sparta High School will have roof mounted solar panels Credits: Jennifer Dericks
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SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Board of Education voted to approve a revised solar project agreement at the regular meeting held in the Sparta High School media center on Monday. 

Superintendent Dennis Tobin began the discussion saying, “It’s been a political issues in the county but we are not going to get into that here.  We are going to talk about Sparta and issues with the school’s roofs.” 

He spoke of the compromised roof at Helen Morgan following the snowy winter and the age of all of the roofs as a consideration in the decision against installing solar panels on the elementary and middle  schools.  “Sparta Middle School’s roof is 15 years old and will need to be replaced before the 15-year contract is up,” said Tobin.

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“The scope of the project has been changed,” said Tobin, explaining the revised plan calls for roof mounted panels only on the high school and ground arrays at the middle school.  “The number of panels is less than the original agreement and potential savings is decreased,” explained Tobin.

The middle school ground mounted panels will be installed on the slope on the front side of the property from the tree line to the parking lot near County Road 517.  The array will surrounded by fencing.

Tobin said, “The attorney [for the district] is working on new contract language that will map out the new scope of the project.”

“The schedule of work has always been a concern for the district,” said Tobin. “They propose to get it done beginning in October.  I recommend this.  I want to get it done in the fall, get it behind us, so we don’t spend the next 10 months talking about it.”  

In previous discussions, Tobin has explained the district’s requirement that installation have minimal impact to the students and no disruption to education.  “The installation should take four to six weeks,” said Tobin.  “Any heavy equipment work will take place during non-school hours.”

“I have been very pleased with the level of cooperation from the county representatives and the contractors in listening to our concerns” said Tobin. 

The six board members that were present voted unanimously to approve the resolution titled Revisions to the Local Unit Facility and Renewable Energy Project. The resolution authorized the Superintendent and School Business Administrator to sign the finalized agreement.  

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