Partnership raises the roof on Waynesboro Schools solar project

Partnership raises the roof on Waynesboro Schools solar project

Rebecca Barnabi

By Rebecca J. Barnabi
For Augusta Free Press

Waynesboro Public SchoolsWAYNESBORO — One year ago in February, the installation of solar panels on four Waynesboro Schools was complete.

According to Waynesboro Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Cassell, panels were not installed on Wenonah or Berkeley Glenn elementary schools because of the age of the roofs on both schools.

“They were in need of new roofs in the next couple or few years,” said Cassell at Tuesday’s regular school board meeting.

A partnership between Secure Futures Solar of Staunton and Skyline Roofing Inc. of Harrisonburg is making it possible for partial replacement of roofs on both schools so that solar panels can be installed.

Loren Swartzendruber, senior business development associate for Secure Futures Solar, said at Tuesday’s meeting that the roofs will have a 20-year warranty.

For a total net benefit in the first year of $959, 806, Swartzendruber said the school system will get new roofs on two schools, rely on solar power and have a warranty on both roofs.

Roof restoration is scheduled to begin November 1, with installation of solar panels on Wenonah and Berkeley Glenn elementary schools in early 2021.

“I will say we’ve been pleased with our work on the first part [of solar panel installations] and as have other school divisions we talked with,” Cassell said.

Swartzendruber said that roof restoration is “the new piece” of the solar project for Waynesboro Schools.

Complete roof replacements on both schools would have cost much more, he said.

“But it’s important to know for a lesser cost you do essentially have a new roof with a 20-year warranty and the cost of that then is being shifted from your capital expense budget to the operational expenses,” Swartzendruber said.

Swartzendruber added that solar power will provide 98.5 percent of the energy Berkeley Glenn Elementary School needs, while Wenonah Elementary’s solar panels will provide nearly 50 percent of the school’s energy needs.

Cassell reminded the school board that in preparation for renovations at Waynesboro High School, a bid of $990,000 was received to replace the 1930s and 1940s portion of the school’s roof.

“Just to give you some context of the price of a roof,” Cassell said.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.