Sheri Samson
Representatives of Sierra Eco Systems are in the process of installing geothermal units at Mineral County schools.

Adoring new custom shirts, saying, “Sierra Eco Systems Helping Heat and Cool Mineral County Schools”, school district maintenance director, Tom Gallegos, brought together Mike Meglen, Ric Rowlatt, AJ Kumar and Levi Blondin as the representatives assisting to bring this exciting venture to the Mineral County schools.

Arriving on a truck from Enertech Global shipping out of Mitchell, S.D., driver Ralph Williams stated that the delivery of 20 units was dropped off for Hawthorne Elementary, 12 units would go to Schurz Elementary School and a remaining six were left for the high school and district office installations. With an excessive weight of over 400 pounds per unit, these pieces were being moved into interior spaces, including attic space for the two elementary school buildings.

“Everything is on schedule with our units,” stated Ric Rowlatt, the local representative for Sierra Eco Systems. “With approximately 160 drill holes required throughout, we have 30 completed, so the drilling at each school will be done. The high school was our first drilling site and it was also the testing area, so the rest will proceed in a timely manner.”

Rowlatt shared that the community had been understanding in the processes, as noise can be a concern, as well as the added machinery. “And yet the town has been supportive of this endeavor and what will soon be achieved.”

With Mineral County being the first complete school district to claim the bragging rights of becoming “all green” within the State of Nevada, an invitational to a school community groundbreaking event will eventually take place, including out-of-area guests from other districts and many of our Nevada State politicians.

Gallegos shared, “We spent a two-year cycle of trying out the ground source methods of heating and air conditioning within our high school modular buildings first. Once we realized the success, we began setting our sites on a full-on transference of energy source within our entire district. This was not a quick decision and our stakeholders in this county graciously agreed with us, as they voted in the bond that allowed the funds to roll-out this ground source heating and air capabilities. We will never look back – it will be as easy as looking at a filter every 3-6 months once completed. The enormous savings we will be experiencing can be incorporated back into paying off the bond, then we can be investing money back into the educational needs of our schools.”

Each school room and the building itself has been designed to receive independent heating and cooling abilities which limits over-use, as was the issue before. With the new system, there is no longer the loss of heat or cool down from lengthy hallways within the structure of older buildings, especially at the high school and district office.

“Even the gyms will be at an even temperature, as units have been properly assigned for installation in there. Everything is appropriately figured for every square foot in all of the school district schools and buildings,” Rowlatt confirmed.