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Beltrami County Board: Jail could see $200,000 in energy improvements

So far unsuccessful in gaining money for a $3.98 million jail efficiency project, Beltrami County won a grant that will allow $200,000 of energy work.

The Beltrami County Board will hear a presentation on the grant award and will be asked to agree to the grant during Tuesday's regular board meeting that begins at 5 p.m. at the County Administration Building, 701 Minnesota Ave.

The board has been trying to secure funding for the larger project, including state capital investment bonding, but has been unsuccessful. That would upgrade the 25-year-old jail in a number of areas, including electronics and mechanical systems.

The board last fall set aside $100,000 for energy-reduction programs countywide, and Steve Shadrick, county director of facilities management, began researching for matching grants.

He won approval of a $100,000 Minnesota energy efficiency and conservation grant that, matched with the county funds, will allow a $200,000 energy reduction project.

"The proposal that I submitted included numerous energy-saving projects such as lighting upgrades, variable frequency drives installed on pump systems, upgrading the HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) control system from pneumatics to direct digital controls, and commissioning of the HVAC system," Shadrick wrote in a memo to commissioners.

"The jail facility was chosen for this grant simply because it consumes more British thermal units per square foot than any other building on our campus and is an excellent candidate for these types of upgrades because the building is in operation 24/7," he said.

Shadrick estimates the annual energy savings, once the project is complete, at $35,597.

In addition to the energy project, commissioners will also hear from county staff about a draft proposal to reduce county jail costs.