Bethany Christian Launches Improvement Project
May 21, 2014
Upgrades Provide Long-Term Savings
GOSHEN – Sometimes what can’t be seen is as important as what can be seen.
In the case of Bethany Christian Schools’ launching a large-scale improvement project to its facility, roof and mechanicals, the external benefits won’t be nearly as obvious as the long-term savings and the educational opportunities created.
This month, Bethany Christian Schools, along with contractors DJ Construction and Dynamic Mechanical Services, begins a sizable project of re-shaping 45,500 square feet of the school that was built in 1954. The project includes the construction of a new sloped roof over the 1954 building and the addition of a new heating and cooling system with digital controls for significantly improved efficiency in operations, all to help save energy costs in the long run.
On May 18, during the Campaign for Sustainability Kickoff, Bethany announced the changes to the public.
“The project promises both practical and educational benefits,” said Principal Allan Dueck. “The new roof, insulation, geothermal heating and cooling, air exchange systems, and the building management system will enhance air quality, eliminate roof leaks, and yield significant operational savings.
“By way of educational benefits, this project will enable Bethany to do a much better job of practicing faith-based creation care—reducing our carbon footprint by utilizing renewable energy sources. We will also be in a much better position to inspire students to consider future decisions about energy use in light of the creation-care lessons they learned here.”
According to Adam Tohulka, Pre-Construction Project Manager at DJ Construction, upgrading the heat and air system to a geothermal unit has numerous advantages over a natural-gas system.
“The most obvious benefit for using this kind of system is the 25-50% savings the user will see in energy costs. Bethany can reallocate the money they’re saving to things that benefit the school, like supplies or technology.
“Another big reason is the impact on the environment. With this type of system, no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gasses are emitted, which are considered to be major contributors to environmental air pollution. A geothermal unit is truly a natural, green heat pump.”
Some of the new mechanicals also will allow for better ventilation, according to Tohulka. Air is cleaner and distributed more evenly, improving the quality of the school’s internal environment, which also increases the likelihood of healthier and better performing students.
Dueck said, “Bethany is becoming a living learning lab where not only students but the community can watch and assess the value of this approach…. Hopefully we will inspire others to consider similar changes for their facilities.”
The project’s first phase is expected to be completed by the end of October, 2014. A much smaller second phase is planned for the summer of 2015.
Bethany Christian Schools is a private school for grades 4-12 with about 280 students. The high school was founded in 1954, and is owned and operated by Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. The schools are located at the south edge of Goshen, Indiana.