Russell O. Brackman Elementary, New Jersey

Charles Carmanna, Superintendent, Berlin Township School District:
"Back in 1987 we had a referendum passed in our township for eight and a half million dollars to build the Russell O. Brackman Middle School. Unfortunately, by the time the State got through all its approvals, it was a year later, and we found out when we went out for bids that the numbers were now antiquated. When the first round of bids came in, we were a million dollars over budget. We came in at nine and a half million."

Anthony V. Altomare, School Board President, Barnegat Township, New Jersey:
"The school board had a couple of alternatives. Either go back to the taxpayers and try to raise another million dollars or to decrease the scope of the work of the school."

Charles Carmanna, Superintendent, Berlin Township School District:
"We couldn't go back to the voters and ask them for a million dollars, and we didn't want to cut the school down where it would not be able to handle future growth population of our township, so we had to come up with an alternative. Fortunately, we had our Clerk of the Works, Mr. Joseph Zartler, researching how we could still build this building, and he came up with a system out of Philadelphia."

Joseph Zartler, Construction Supervisor:
"They specialize in geothermal heat. They told us they could heat and air condition our building and it wouldn't cost the school any up front money."

Charles Carmanna, Superintendent, Berlin Township School District:
"The cost of the system was going to be paid for over a number of years. The major overrun on the budget was a million dollars for heating and air conditioning.

"Our school, which we did not have plans for in the beginning, is totally air conditioned. The cost savings were tremendous as well as having a school that is really the state of the art for the future of our township and our students. Every classroom is equipped with its own individual unit and its own temperature setting so if a teacher would like it a little warmer or a little colder, that can be done by just regulating the thermostat. It's environmentally sound all year long. It keeps it a lot cleaner because we don't have to open up the windows and there is no unsightly mechanical equipment outside and around the building. The closed-loop system was installed in the rear of the building. There are no visible signs of any equipment back there at all. The mechanical room is approximately one sixth the size of the original."

Joseph Zartler, Construction Supervisor:
"The school district pays no maintenance on any of the units in the building. In the four years that we have had the system in operation, we have had no major maintenance problems at all. Not too far from here in the same township is the 35,000 square foot Lillian Dunfey School. This school has no air conditioning."

Charles Carmanna, Superintendent, Berlin Township School District:
"The energy bills for that school, one third the size of the Brackman School, are equal and sometimes even more than the Brackman School. The Board is currently considering a retrofit on the Lillian N. Dunfey School to convert it from totally electric heating to a geothermal system because we found that it is the most environmentally safe as well as the most cost effective system to run."

Anthony V. Altomare, School Board President, Barnegat Township, New Jersey:
"It looked mighty gloomy in the beginning and turned out to be just an unbelievable situation at the end. I know for a fact that all the people concerned, including the Board of Education, are very happy that they made that decision in 1987."

Charles Carmanna, Superintendent, Berlin Township School District:
"Now we have probably the state-of-the-art middle school in Ocean County. I am very proud of the fact that we went with the system. The proof is in the pudding. We have the building and we are ready for the future."