The mechanical room at will be getting an “extreme makeover” to help students learn about energy.
The room is being outfitted with an 80-gallon solar hot water system to supplement the current gas hot water system and will be turned into a thermal energy lab to demonstrate energy production and use.
The School Board last week approved paying up to $25,000 to J.M. Brennan, a mechanical contractor, for the project. However, grants and donations are expected to cover half of the cost, resulting in an estimated overall cost of $12,500 for the district.
The project is being led by board member Steve Edlund, who is also an employee of J.M. Brennan.
The project is being jointly funded by the district and STEM, and includes volunteer hours for all Edlund's time, including coordination of the project and installation of solar energy system, and parent/staff volunteers to provide the instructional components.
“Through live applications of thermal, mechanical and electrical energy, students will have the opportunity to learn the application of energy in everyday use,” Edlund said.
Edlund said that Saratoga science teachers were “literally giddy” about the prospect for the redesigned room and offered suggestions, saying that they spend six weeks of curriculum time on energy.
“So, it’s a great opportunity to see energy in real usage and, with the solar hot water, to actually create energy versus just consuming energy,” he said.
Edlund said pipes will be color-coded, with flow arrows showing what is traveling where. There will also be sensor in pipe measures amount of water in pipe.
Edlund said the project should get started “very soon,” but first, the room has to be cleaned out and asbestos abatement work completed. The project should be finished this year.
“We’re trying to create a vibrant, colorful place for the children to learn in,” he said.