As one of the fastest-growing school districts in Arkansas, Farmington Public Schools oversees almost 2,600 students and manages 600,000 square feet of facilities. On Monday evening, the Farmington School Board approved a $3,881,804 Energy Savings Performance Contract with Entegrity, an Energy Services Company headquartered in Arkansas. Upon completion, the project will reduce the school’s annual energy and maintenance expenses by nearly $300,000. The school district plans to use the annual savings for teacher raises and retention, which would be the school’s first raise in five years.
When Jon Laffoon was appointed superintendent in May 2020, his first priority was to address the District’s facility issues and teacher retention without the need for additional state funding or a tax increase from the community. Superintendent Laffoon said, “Many of the district’s primary education facilities are older, on those campuses updates to HVAC and lighting systems were necessary. It’s exciting that during my first year as Superintendent of the district, the board prioritized creating funding for raises and addressing the infrastructure of our older facilities. We found a way to pay for major upgrades, create financial savings, and to make our district safer and more energy responsible.”
The District decided to rely upon the performance contracting program overseen by the Arkansas Energy Office, allowing the school to pay for facility improvements with the annual savings created by the upgrades themselves. The savings are guaranteed, and, if not met, the provider will write a check for the difference.
The full scope of work includes district-wide LED lighting, HVAC replacements and tune-ups, water conservation measures on school fixtures, an emergency back-up generator, new stadium lighting, and more. Entegrity will also implement multiple onsite solar arrays and manage the sites with Regenerative Agriculture practices that use a combination of wildflowers and prairie grasses. The project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to burning 3,258,507 pounds of coal.
Chris Ladner, Entegrity’s Founder and CEO, said, “Farmington Public Schools is leading the way in demonstrating how comprehensive savings measures, multiple financing strategies, and close team coordination can come together to solve a number of problems with a single solution.”