A new Tulsa elementary school will use a geothermal system to save energy costs

Thursday, November 4th 2004, 3:23 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa Public Schools will kick off a $15-million building campaign next week. One project, a new building for Eugene Field Elementary School at 1116 West 22nd Street.

The groundbreaking is not until next week, but crews are already working to make the new building more efficient.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims has more on how TPS is trying to save energy costs.

Construction crews are already laying the groundwork for a new Eugene Field Elementary School. But they're not just punching holes; they're planting a system that will save you money. TPS bond project manager Bob LaBass: "This is the area where they're drilling the well field for the geothermal system."

Geothermal is just a big word for a system that gets the earth's natural temperature to work for us. "Its a system that uses the heat and coolness of the earth to transfer heat out of the area so by pumping water through here and back up through the system we can eliminate the heat load at the building.”

Workers are drilling water wells, digging trenches, and laying hundreds of feet of pipe. The geothermal system is taking up most of the lot next to Eugene Field and it alone costs more than half a million dollars. But Tulsa Public Schools say it's worth it. The building is about 80 years old. And the utility bills run more than $40,000 a year. The new geothermal system will cut that by about 30%. "We think it will pay off both in the cost of utility savings and the lower maintenance costs it takes to run these so you get a double benefit."

The new Eugene Field Elementary School hasn't started to take shape, but their heating and cooling system should be done in about a month.

The total price tag for the new school is just under $6-million. It's being paid for by the 2001 bond issue.