$500,000 in grants awarded to two Memphis schools

The grant, given to elementary and secondary schools at Power Center Academy in Memphis, is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s School Uplift program.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Gestalt Community Schools held a celebratory event on Wednesday to announce the $500,000 grant the charter school system received through the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) School improvement program for its two Hickory Hill schools – Power Center Academy High School and Power Center Academy Elementary.

While the grant will help both charter schools complete energy upgrades, the network will also use funds to invest in robotics and STEM materials.

The School Uplift program is a TVA initiative to invest in school energy systems, such as lighting, air conditioning and power generation, to reduce energy production and save money.

PCA High School received $400,000, the maximum grant amount for a single school, for lighting and HVAC upgrades to improve energy efficiency, but also to make the space more conducive to learning.

“It means so much to us, to our families, to know that our schools will not only be energy efficient, but also safer,” said Yetta Lewis, CEO of Gestalt Community Schools. “It’s a better learning environment for our students.”

RELATED: Shelby County helps pay for summer camp with scholarships for kids

According to TVA, improving energy efficiency through its School Uplift program saves schools an average of $11,000 per year in energy savings and sees their annual energy production reduced by 13%.

The program involves 90,000 students and faculty, awarding 24 energy grants to schools that have completed the program to date.

TVA said it is training 160 schools to implement strategic energy management and TVA is investing $7.3 million in School Uplift over the next three years.

“We focus on schools because they are the heart of the community,” said Cindy Herron, vice president of energy services for TVA. “We are at the service of the future generation and we want to make a difference.

RELATED: Calling all educators! Teach901 will host an in-person career fair for educators

PCA Elementary School received $100,000, which will be used to upgrade the facility to become more energy efficient, while 50% of the grant will be used to create unique learning environments for scholars.

This coming fall, a committee of academics, parents and teachers will determine which updates they would like to see inside or outside the school.