After several months of information and discussion, the Clay Central-Everly school district motioned at Monday night's meeting to open the wind turbine replacement project for bids.
"We've called several references," Superintendent Dennis McClain said. "A lot of the information we've heard I was able to verify. However, not many of the like-model remanufactured turbines have been in the ground for very long."
The earliest remanufactured turbine was installed about four years ago.
"This is likely a sign of where the industry is at," McClain said. "The companies that are here now haven't been around very long."
Board member Dave Saboe motioned to replace the turbine, but other board members had further concerns. The motion was without a second.
"We're not in a financial situation to take this risk," Board President Scott Rinehart said.
In 1995, the district spent about $130,000 to install the original turbine. Since then, it has spent about $78,000 in repairs.
"If it produces at capacity, we're still looking at seven to 10 years until it's paid itself off," Board Member Matt Schoning said. "One breakdown and we're up to 15."
"It saves us money from the General Fund," Saboe said. "If anything, it helps us transfer money from the Capitol Project funds into the General Fund. We're getting a much better machine that's much better kept."
"This is the equivalent of a new machine," said Harold Prior, CC-E to open wind turbine for bids of First Priority Consultants. "With this model, especially, the engineers know the wear points and where to beef it up."
Prior did note that though the location of the current wind turbine is "not the best area," even with added growth the district would not see a significant loss of production.
"The machine the district currently has never ran at capacity. It had maybe three months of good production."
Prior also noted that opening the project for bids does not guarantee a commitment from the board.
"You're not making a final decision yet," he said. "You can always reject the bids, but you would have clear and exact information specific to the turbine you'll get."
"We're not a business," Rinehart said. "We're not here to make money. We're here to educate kids."
"We're not out anything from gathering bids," Board Member Brian Schmidt said.
Schmidt suggested opening bids for both remanufactured turbines and for demolition of the current turbine.
"We need to have detailed speculations that every vendor needs to meet," Schmidt said.
Prior noted that a draft of detailed speculations was created after December's board meeting.
"Having the details assures us that we're comparing apples to apples," Prior said. "Not apples to oranges."