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Tim Gallagher, an energy efficiency analyst for Minnesota Power's Commercial PowerGrant Conservation Program, right, presented a rebate check to Park Rapids Schools superintendent Glenn Chiodo and school board chair Sherry Safratowich. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Park Rapids School District receives energy rebates

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Park Rapids Schools' energy efficiency projects are paying dividends.

This week, the school board accepted a rebate check of $32,124 from Minnesota Power, recognizing the lights upgrade and high efficiency motors and mechanical equipment installed, and a $15,000 rebate check from Ann Carlon of Minnesota Energy Resources Corp. for the new boilers.

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The school is undergoing $11.3 million in upgrades that include 19 new air handling units, five of them rooftop units; dehumidifiers; lights; boilers; water heaters; roofing and a pool filtration system.

The project is funded through bonding sources, $7.6 million of which were quality school construction bonds, which are stimulus dollars. The project will carry over to next summer.

In other action, the board:

n Approved a direct contract with Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College for students using the Post Secondary Education Option, students opting to head to college during their junior or senior years of high school.

But this issue is nearly moot; currently one Park Rapids student is enrolled in PSEO.

College in the Classroom is to be credited. "It's a blessing, an absolute bonus for us," high school principal Jeff Johnson of retaining students while augmenting their education.

"It's an excellent program," high school counselor Susan Rassier agrees.

Currently, a total of 31 college credits are offered via the University of Minnesota-Crookston, Northland Community College and Bemidji State University.

Most of the students enrolled in the classes are seniors, Rassier said, some taking three or four college classes as well as meeting high school class requirements.

The U of M Crookston and Northland require a GPA of 3.0; BSU wants students in the top half of the class.

Teachers of the classes must have attained master's degrees and met college approval.

"These are not watered down college classes," Rassier emphasized. There is more homework and the classes are at a higher level than the high school counterparts. Students must pass tests to attain the college credits.

Subjects offered include composition I and II, general psychology, introduction to sociology, college algebra, public speaking computer applications, anatomy, physiology and physics.

Taking the courses in high school, as opposed to a college, is more cost effective, Rassier said.

"And you only go to high school once," she noted of "playing hockey, being in a play and going to prom."

College in the Classroom "is a good way to move ahead while remaining here, and being part of the high school environment."

Of the approximately 100 seniors last year, 44 of had taken at least one college-level class, she said.

n Learned the PTA sold $9,800 worth of books, 60 percent of the amount returned as scholastic dollars for the purchase of supplies.

This far exceeds the average, Stephanie Carlson said.

n Congratulated members of the girls cross country and tennis teams.

Superintendent Glenn Chiodo noted the athletes are not only to be commended for their athletic prowess, but also their academic achievements.

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