MONUMENT, Colo. – New upgrades are in the works for the Lewis-Palmer School District in Monument to add additional safety and help conserve energy.

The new upgrades include energy-efficient lighting inside of school buildings, new air filtration HVAC systems, and an added boost to the security of three schools.

District superintendent Dr. KC Somers said the new project will reduce utility and operational costs by up to 25% and generate more than $9.9 million for the school district over the next 20 years. 

“It makes me really proud to know that we are taking steps to address where we have had these challenges in the past and also make sure that we’re doing so in an innovative, sustainable way as well as being financially responsible as well,” Somers said.

The project in partnership with Schneider Electric will improve the learning environment and upgrade aging infrastructure to support more than 5,000 students across eight schools.

Somers said money for the project was raised from school reserves. The district was unable to pass a bond or obtain the funding necessary to tackle a deferred maintenance backlog and improvements, leaving them with only limited general dollars to tackle critical needs such as urgent repairs.

Without alternate funding, it would have taken the district five to seven years to address all their capital project needs. 

“The costs are quite expensive so what you have to do is look at opportunities such as this one to say how might we with budget constraints find flexible opportunities to experience the savings in an energy performance contract,” Somers said.

The project will also allow upgraded security with the addition of security vestibules and interior walls, which control access to the buildings. 

“For our kids to have a safe and warm environment where they can come to school and know that they are protected, that they are supported. Our staff does such a great job but we also have to rely on facilities and make sure we have the physical upgrades to our facilities to ensure that’s also taking place,” Somers said.

Somers said with the money saved by the project he hopes that the district can put more attention on other needs.

“We still have financial challenges that we are having to grapple with but it does give us more flexibility within our budget to be able to address things like teacher compensation and other really important priorities for us,” Somers said. “With those additional savings we are able to reinvest in our schools and re-invest in our operational budget to support the quality of education we expect for all of our kids.”

For more information on the project visit Lewis-Palmer School District’s website.