Drilling starts for Holmes’ geothermal system

       A drilling rig was beginning the creation of 112 holes this week in a temporarily fenced-off part of the field east of Holmes Middle School.
       The work is preliminary to a $3.164 million reconstruction project at the school this summer. The main part of the project is a new geothermal climate-control system; the holes are needed for the system's underground piping.
       So extensive is the project that Holmes will be closing May 16 - a week earlier than most other schools in the district.
       Drilling the holes (each 300 feet deep) is Rocky Mountain Geothermal from Centennial, Colo. The general contractor is White Construction Group from Castle Rock. Both are experienced firms with excellent reputations, according to Rick LaRose, School District 11's project manager for Holmes.
       A contract condition is that the work will be sufficiently completed to allow school to start on time in August, LaRose said.
       Funded by the 2005 District 11 bond issue, the Holmes construction will also include replacing the two old gas-heated boilers with a geothermal circulating pump and installing a new heat-delivery system throughout the school. Other bond-releated upgrades involve electrical systems, a library alarm, carpet, chalkboards, lockers, windows and asphalt.
       The overall cost of the project, recently approved by the D-11 school board, is slightly less than the bond-issue estimate of $3,175,000.

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