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Etowah County Commission Funds $16 Million Modernization Project

Alabama's Etowah County Commission has announced it will reduce operating costs of ten county facilities by 30 percent through a partnership with energy and sustainability expert, Schneider Electric. The $16.1 million project is one of the largest public-sector facility and security improvement initiative to be carried out in the state of Alabama.

“This large-scale modernization project will allow us to serve our citizens more effectively and enhance the safety of our community,” said David W. Akins, Etowah County Commission chief administrative officer. “Schneider Electric has been a trusted partner to the Gadsden community for many years, and we’re excited to tackle the many facility needs we have with their expertise.”

Etowah County faced a growing list of deferred maintenance challenges throughout its aging facilities, including equipment failures from outdated technology and security systems. To address these issues, the county selected Schneider Electric to develop a comprehensive infrastructure improvement project across ten facilities.

A significant share of the project will take place at the Etowah County Detention Center where the project will dramatically reduce the county’s expenses for housing inmates. The facility will receive:

  • Exterior facility doors, interior cell door locking controls system, access control video cameras and gate systems to protect the safety of detainees, inmates and staff
  • Window replacements and steel security grating in all cells to improve public safety
  • Interior and exterior lighting upgrades to brighten facilities at night and increase efficiency
  • Advanced water automation system to address piping issues to solve major water leaks
  • Kitchen redesign, replacement and expansion to meet the needs of the growing inmate population
  • Additional inmate recreation yards to utilize the full potential of the current facility
  • Exterior building enhancements such as new roofing and caulking, resealing and painting of the detention center window frames and judicial building to improve community appearance
  • Major building mechanical replacements and a new building automation system to correct current control issues and decrease staff maintenance time

“We are happy to partner with Schneider Electric to increase this facility’s safety with new improvements that will smooth internal operations,” said Keith Peek, Chief of Corrections at the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office.  “These upgrades will give our staff the tools they need to safely perform their jobs, as well as address critical infrastructure issues.”

Additional Etowah County facilities that will receive upgrades include the county’s courthouse, judicial services center, and county community centers. Savings will come from a wide variety of energy conservation measures including:

  • Retrofitting interior and exterior LED lighting to improve safety and reduce energy consumption
  • Installing new county-wide building automation system to streamline operations and equipment monitoring
  • Sealing windows, doors, gaps and cracks to save energy and improve comfort
  • Enhancing communication with new county-wide VoIP telecommunications system

“We are proud to be Etowah County’s design-build partner to manage critical infrastructure upgrades that will dramatically improve the safety and security of the community,” said Tammy Fulop, Vice President, Schneider Electric. “Many municipalities face similar challenges, and we’re committed to helping clients in Alabama and beyond achieve their infrastructure, security and efficiency goals.”

Construction is underway and is scheduled to be complete next year.

This project builds on Schneider Electric’s expertise in energy efficiency projects in Alabama, having implemented over $270 million in energy efficiency projects for more than 43 clients and helping public entities secure over $60 million in energy-related grants and rebates. In addition to its work with the Etowah County Commission, Schneider Electric has partnered with a quarter of all school districts in the state including Gadsden City Schools, Etowah County Schools, Attalla City Schools, Dekalb County Schools, Blount County Schools and Marshall County Schools. Schneider has also completed projects at other major municipalities including, Shelby County, Montgomery County, Elmore County and Coffee County Commission.

Over the past 27 years, Schneider Electric has successfully implemented more than 740 energy savings performance contract (ESPC) projects across the nation, saving its clients over $2 billion. This project delivery method helps publicly funded entities make capital improvements through a design-build delivery and offers many long-term benefits such as improved efficiency, operational performance, financial management and environmental protection.

For more information on how Schneider Electric helps municipalities tackle their top priorities with energy efficiency and security, please visit