Allegany County Public Schools
Fort Hill High School
Fort Hill High School
Fort Hill High School
Fort Hill High School
Fort Hill High School

Maryland's last coal-powered public school will convert to natural gas

Nov. 8, 2022
A $4.7 million upgrade at Fort Hill High School in Cumberland will switch the facility to a natural gas system.

Fort Hill High School in Cumberland, Md., the last public school in the state powered by coal, will convert to natural gas.

A $4.7 million renovation will replace the school's two boilers with natural gas systems. In addition, an HVAC system will be installed in the school's gymnasiums, locker weight, and wrestling rooms, reports The Meadville Tribune

The Allegany County (Md.) school board vote to eliminate the coal-powered boilers at Fort Hill comes after the district converted coal systems to natural gas units last summer at Braddock and Washington middle schools.

The Fort Hill building is about 191,732 square feet in size and requires about 254 tons of coal per year to heat it, school officials said. Coal boilers also require 24-hour maintenance.

District officials hope the natural gas system will be installed at Fort Hill by September 2023. 

Although natural gas is expected to cost more than coal, the systems can operate for fewer hours per day than the antiquated ones.

Another factor in the decision to switch to the natural gas systems is the scarcity of replacement parts for the coal boilers.

The HVAC upgrade will bring air conditioning for the first time to Fort Hill’s gymnasium wing.

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