The heat is on in Fort Kent. The new biomass boiler project connecting UMFK, Fort Kent Community High School is almost completed. Shawn Cunningham reports on the finishing touches that still have to be implemented.
This is an important meeting of the minds. The meetings of the project committee for the biomass boiler initiative that will heat UMFK’s campus and Fort Kent Community High School via the Fort Kent Armory have become more frequent…now that the enterprise is almost done.
Tom Perkins is the Project Manager of the Biomass Boiler Project and says “We’re doing our final conversions now that the university classes are in recess so that we can get in there and do the mechanical work that we need and the conversions in the boiler room and soon thereafter we’re shifting gears as the high school and elementary school are nearly out of session and once the kids are gone for the summer we’re gonna get in there finish up our work so that we’re done by the end of the summer.”
UMFK President Wilson Hess adds “The coordination of the project between two different institutions, the university and the high school makes this a very unique project and we need to work around the joint schedules that we have so summer’s the time to finish before the school year begins.”
Perkins says the plan over the next two months is to install heat exchangers, control systems and the pumps that are going to circulate the hot water that’s generated by the biomass plant.
Project officials say this biomass initiative has been a huge endeavor, but one that’s worthwhile for the university, the Fort Kent school system and the community. And its already made an impact.
Perkins says “We ended up turning our boilers on last winter and we immediately realized some substantial cost savings from the heat that generated.”
Hess says “This project is going to save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year estimated over the course of the next ten years its gonna save over a million dollars to the university, and to the local high school at a time when funding is so tight and so critical.”
Perkins says the project will be completed by the end of August. Hess say they expect to see positive benefits from the new system by next winter.