Haley announces measure that’ll cut energy costs in Barnwell Co. schools

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. (File / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o’clock / Wednesday, April 17, 2013

BARNWELL COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- You could say it's a struggle to keep the lights on at a lot of rural South Carolina schools.

"The budgets always a concern when you're trying to make all these dollars count for student needs,” says Brian Newsome, principal of Williston-Elko High School.

Newsome knows all too well what it means to pinch pennies.

"We try to stretch it out the best we can and be financially responsible. Everything we do with our money, we make sure it'll impact students and move academic achievement,” he said.

But a big sigh of relief is now on the way, thanks to Savannah River Remediation.

"Our goal is to help educators save money year over year over year,” said Dave Olson, president of SRR.

"What I have seen happen with SRR is pretty miraculous,” said Gov. Nikki Haley, who traveled to Barnwell County to personally make the announcement.

Using Six Sigma knowledge and expertise, energy costs in all three districts in Barnwell County will be streamlined and ultimately cut.

"This is, one step at a time, improving the education quality for our students one step at a time, day at a time, in rural South Carolina,” Haley said.

Schools like Williston-Elko High will soon be getting a greener, cleaner, environmental-friendlier facelift from SRR engineers.

"You might have a 20-year-old freezer that's utilizing lots and lots of power, and you can buy a used one that's newer and more efficient,” Olson said.

Engineers have already done something similar to schools in Aiken and Allendale counties. Just in Aiken County alone, the green measures save taxpayers $200,000 a year and that's money that can go back into the classrooms -- instead of paying big electric bills.

"Because that money comes out of the funds that we have to use every day to buy textbooks, buy materials, technology, paper and pencils, and all those kind of things,” Newsome said.

Olson says he won't be done after Barnwell County. He has plans to do the same thing in Bamberg, Hampton, and Edgefield counties, too. Actually, he says he hopes the idea will spread statewide eventually.

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