Massachusetts company expert in energy efficiency wins nearly $1.5 million contract to conduct statewide assessment of public school facilities over next two years
KSBA eNews Service, Frankfort, May 16, 2017

No-cost training for district personnel on their role in the process to begin in June at 10 sites
By Brad Hughes

Kentucky has hired a Massachusetts firm that specializes in energy saving consulting to create a new way to assess and catalogue the status of public school buildings around the state.

In a contract effective May 1, the state agreed to pay $1,484,100 over the next two years to Ameresco, Inc. to develop the Kentucky Facilities Inventory and Classification System. Ameresco is based in Framingham, Mass., with offices across the U.S. (including Louisville) and the United Kingdom.

On its corporate website, Ameresco states that it provides “comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for facilities … from upgrades to facility's energy infrastructure to the development, construction and operation of renewable energy plants … to reduce operating expenses, upgrade and maintain facilities, stabilize energy costs, improve occupancy comfort levels, increase energy reliability and enhance the environment.” Its client list includes a number of public and private school systems. (http://www.ameresco.com/customers/k-12-education)

Commissioner Stephen Pruitt announced the contract in an email to education leaders last week.

“KDE selected Ameresco based on the company’s experience of assessing buildings using industry standards and creating a maintainable assessment process,” Pruitt said. “Ameresco will train the districts and their architect partners to assess the physical condition of buildings. Assessment data will be captured utilizing Ameresco’s AssetPlanner suite of modules including the AuditPlanner mobile application.”

According to an article in the November Kentucky School Advocate magazine, the 2016 General Assembly allocated $2 million in each of the next two fiscal years to create a new format for assessing the condition of school buildings, capable of more real-time flexibility by Oct. 1, 2017. The new list is to be updated in odd-numbered years so the legislature would have information on school facility needs before it writes a new biennial state budget in even-numbered years.

Objectives of the new system include:

• Identifying how to make school building assessments a continuous function for districts.

• Providing a way to track building conditions and integrate the information into district facility plans and construction projects. This would enable school building scores to be adjusted with each step.

Districts will be invited to send one to two “facilities resources persons” and architectural representatives to a series of regional training sessions starting in late June. KDE is covering the cost of the sessions and related software through the funding in the state budget.