Monday, July 3, 2023

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that Mosier Community School has earned a nearly $870,000 federal grant to support resilient, energy efficient improvements to the building.

“Schools are pillars of every community, often serving as public meeting spaces, playgrounds, gyms, as well as classrooms. And yet, too many schools in Oregon lack the resources to make crucial improvements to their buildings,” Wyden said. “I am proud that MCS has earned the grant dollars to bring their beautiful and historic building into the 21st Century so students and their families have a livable space to learn, meet and play.”

“School has the ability to open up new worlds and possibilities to students of all ages, but in order for students to get the most out of their education, school facilities and buildings must provide a safe and healthy learning environment,” Merkley said. “This funding for Mosier Community School will allow the school to make vital updates to their facilities, improving air quality and energy efficiency. These updates will not only support the success of students, but will create a safe place for the community to gather.”  

MCS is a public charter school serving 192 pre-K thru 8th grade students in Mosier. MCS’s building is more than 100 years old, and it has its original heating oil boiler, no formal ventilation or air conditioning system, no wall or ceiling insulation and most of its windows are the original wood single pane windows. MCS is a school that serves as a critical part of the local community. In a 5-mile radius it is the only public meeting space that can hold more than 10 people, the only gym, and the only playground.

In critical need of energy efficiency upgrades, MCS will use the competitive $868,248 Renew America’s Schools grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to start major energy efficiency upgrades as well as a 112 kW rooftop solar system and a 100 kWh battery backup system. The requested funding would support installation of high-efficiency heat pumps, air sealing and roof insulation to decrease loss of conditioned air, heat recovery ventilators to increase efficiency while improving indoor air quality, new high-efficiency double-pane windows, new interior LED lighting, and three EV charging stations for teachers, staff, and a 4th public use station. The proposed upgrades would radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, utility costs, and increase building efficiency – with major benefits to student, teacher and community health.

“This grant is an amazing opportunity for us to take a school that is operating with a 100-year old heating oil boiler, no formal ventilation system and not a bit of insulation and modernize it with a robust weatherization plan and high-efficiency heat pumps that will be powered primarily by solar energy,” said Brent Foster, parent volunteer and Project Lead for the school’s Facilities Committee. “The school is really the center of the community and having the funding to do a comprehensive energy efficiency retrofit while installing what will be one of the largest solar systems in the Columbia River Gorge is a game changer for us and will significantly reduce the school’s carbon footprint. We really appreciate everything Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley did to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and are excited to see the benefits of the bill becoming a reality in Oregon.”

There are 24 schools and districts in 22 states that will share $178 million of funding, enabling them to pursue diverse projects to lower energy costs, lower emissions, and create healthier, safer, and more supportive learning environments in their schools. This historic investment will directly benefit about 74,000 students and 5,000 teachers in 97 school buildings across America, supporting President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda by promoting STEM education and workforce development, while creating well-paying jobs that stimulate local economies.

“Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE is demonstrating scalable and replicable clean energy models that will create healthier and safer K-12 schools,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.