HARVARD — Voters have approved $148,000 to replace a boiler at The Bromfield School and install ceiling fans at Harvard Elementary School.
During the May 21 Special Town Meeting, the Finance Committee recommended $140,000 be transferred from the stabilization fund to replace Bromfield’s primary boiler, which is leaking and requires on-going repairs and maintenance. It will be replaced with two smaller boiler units that will yield greater fuel efficiency, members said.
The replacement will have projected savings based on fuel prices, said School Committee member Virginia Justicz.
“The new boilers would be 30 percent more efficient,” she said. “We use, on average, 36,000 gallons of fuel a school year. At $3 a gallon it would represent $32,400 in savings and $43,200 for $4 a gallon.”
The committee is still pursuing quotes it hopes will come under the $140,000 proposed, said Justicz, including whether KeySpan can extend the gas line to the Town Center so the schools can use natural gas instead of oil.
“We’re looking at installing dual burner system boilers,” she said. “So, we can fluctuate between burning oil and using natural gas.”
Board of Selectmen Chairman Leo Blair said he did some research on the boilers to help speed up the process.
“The real issue is based on the numbers I’ve seen, we’ve spent just under $100,000 on fuel,” he said. “It’s certainly possible that natural gas could be available and be half the price with the dual burners.
“I support the approval with the understanding that everyone is working as hard as they can to get the number as low as possible,” he said.
The article for the boilers required a two-thirds vote. It passed with only eight dissenting votes.
Installing ceiling fans requires $8,000 to be transferred from the stabilization fund to remedy the uncomfortable room temperature in several second-floor classrooms.
“We had a generous donor donate the fans themselves,” said School Committee Chairman Stuart Sklar. “The $8,000 would be just the cost of wiring the fans.”
Resident Billy Salter questioned the amount being spent on the ceiling fans.
“One could buy 700 box fans for $25 a piece,” he said. “Ceiling fans are not necessarily the right thing.”
Sklar reiterated the donor was donating the fans themselves, not money.
“This individual is not raising $17,000,” he said. “They are actually donating the fans. This person worked with a supplier to purchase the fans. So, they will donate the actual fans.”
The article passed with the two-thirds vote required. Only nine voters dissented.