Public Sector


Oregon Community Unit School District 220

Oregon Community Unit School District

The Opportunity

The Oregon Community Unit School District 220 (OCUSD) is 100 miles west of Chicago, Illinois. The District excels in percentage of graduates, teacher-student ratios and per pupil spending, all in line with its commitment to “providing the highest learning standards in a safe and welcoming educational environment.”

The District sought to modernize school facilities. The goal was not only to upgrade capabilities, but also to enhance educational opportunities for students. The HVAC system was original to the buildings and hot water systems were outdated and inefficient. There was even asbestos in the HVAC piping, and the aging plumbing throughout the system led to significant leaks. Effective and energy-efficient campus security systems were high on the “must-have” list.

The Partnership

OCUSD partnered with OpTerra to plan and install a wide-ranging, multi-phased program that went beyond energy efficiency to include many kinds of new technology, as well as fresh educational approaches. The most critical needs to address were an energy-efficient approach to heating and cooling, hot water, electrical and energy management network upgrades, building automation, plumbing upgrades and energy-efficient security solutions. OpTerra secured substantial grants to help pay for the program, and hired local contractors to do the work. By keeping the cost savings local and employing local workers, constituents bene­fit from this project with more money flowing into the local economy.

The Impact

Beyond the significant cost savings of over $586,000 annually and financial facilitation for improvements from OpTerra, there are now more engaging educational opportunities available to students. The exciting technological advances delivered the safety and security enhancements school leaders had imagined, as well as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educational outcomes.

District officials lauded the tailored approach and unique solutions that came from working with OpTerra. For instance, the District implemented The Perry Initiative in Orthopedics and Engineering, which is held in conjunction with a local hospital and medical school. Recently, select students attended a workshop at Loyola University to gain real-world experience applying STEM learning in orthopedics and engineering.

Through this comprehensive partnership, OCUSD and OpTerra improved learning environments and infrastructure while incorporating a unique educational approach that will benefit students for years to come.

The Technical Scope

Phase I

  • Energy efficient secure vestibules and other security/crisis management solutions
  • New wireless infrastructure and telephone communications system
  • Installed comprehensive geothermal HVAC and domestic hot water
  • Installed building automation system
  • Improved electrical and plumbing systems
  • Life safety and architectural management