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Johnson Controls and Rockingham County Schools Collaborate on Building Technology Improvement Initiative Funded by $12M in ESSER Resources

Republished, Source Johnson Controls

Milwaukee, WI – March 21, 2023 – Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI), the global leader for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, has reunited with long-time partner Rockingham County Schools, NC to allocate $12M in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding towards addressing HVAC deferred maintenance. In a two-phased approach, Johnson Controls replaced and installed heat pumps at select schools as well as upgraded the district-wide Metasys® digital controls to deliver enhanced environmental outcomes by the end of summer 2023.

An investment-grade audit completed in 2018 revealed the district, like 41% of its K-12 peers, had a deferred maintenance backlog which negatively impacted the performance of its HVAC systems. When federal ESSER funding became available to K-12 institutions, the district looked to Johnson Controls for guidance on how to best utilize its available federal resources following a competitive RFQ bid process. Johnson Controls was awarded the design-build contract in close collaboration with SKA Consulting Engineers.

“The federal funding made available to school districts is a one-time opportunity, so it’s critical that K-12 leaders take the time to maximize these dollars to the fullest,” said Erselle Young, assistant superintendent of operations and logistics at Rockingham County Schools. “Working with Johnson Controls granted us the expertise and resources to understand exactly where these funds could be allocated to have the most beneficial impact on our students and staff.”

Based on Johnson Controls facilities audit, it was determined the district needed to replace inoperable and outdated HVAC equipment in six facilities. The upgrades needed to seamlessly integrate with the schools’ existing infrastructure in the most cost-effective way possible. In addition to multiple heat pump replacements and installations in three schools, the Johnson Controls team also upgraded Rockingham County’s Metasys® digital controls to allow for remote monitoring and a better understanding of the solutions’ overall health and performance.

With poor IAQ proven to contribute to increased absenteeism and diminished academic performance, these strategic improvements will help foster a healthy, comfortable and productive learning environment while streamlining internal operational processes. Pre-implementation air quality measurements will provide a baseline against which Johnson Controls can quantify and validate IAQ improvements. Under the continuing partnership, Johnson Controls maintains a team of three experts onsite to provide maintenance on an ongoing basis.

“This is just the latest project milestone in what has been a successful 25-year relationship,” said Maureen Blase, vice president and general manager of Sustainable Infrastructure at Johnson Controls. “We are proud to work with Rockingham County Schools leaders to translate ESSER funding into tangible outcomes that make a difference in student’s academic careers. The county’s district leaders are true champions for healthy K-12 experiences.”

To learn more about how Johnson Controls delivers healthy outcomes in K-12 school districts, visit

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