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Wind tower set to go on farmland  

southbendtribune.com

It may lead to wind turbine to generate energy for School City.

JUDY BRADFORD
Tribune Correspondent

MISHAWAKA – The hills on the south side of the city could become the site for an energy-producing wind turbine – if an 18-month study reveals there’s enough wind to turn it.

School City of Mishawaka could also become an area leader in the field of wind energy.

The school system on Wednesday got the go-ahead from the Area Board of Zoning Appeals to install a 150-foot antenna tower that will gather information at intervals of 50, 100 and 150 feet.

The antenna tower will be installed 360 feet behind a farmhouse at 59171 Ireland Trail, in the area of the “southern ridge” of Mishawaka.

The ridge begins with the hills at George Wilson Park and goes westward including Blair Hills, and past Marian High School. At 800 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest elevations in the county, according to Randy Squadroni, business manager for Mishawaka schools.

“The wind velocity (on the antenna) will give us information that could put the turbine anywhere in that vicinity,” said Squadroni.

He also said that schools in Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Illinois are leading the way in wind energy for their communities.

Spirit Lake, Iowa, schools, for example, installed a wind turbine at its elementary school in July 1993. The turbine provides all the electricity for the 53,000 square-foot school. The school system even sells energy to the local electric company when there is an excess of wind, according to its Web site, www.spirit-lake.k12.ia.us.

Squadroni said a turbine would cost at least $800,000, but could pay for itself in seven years by generating $125,000 worth of energy each year.

Local businessman John Doster, who owns Overhead Door Co., spoke in favor of the school’s petition for special use of the space for an antenna tower in a cornfield owned by R. Dominic and Maureeta Caurro. Their farm is near the intersection of Ireland Trail and Inwood Road.

“Mishawaka needs to be stepping out and be the first one to gather this data,” Doster said. “We need to support alternative forms of energy and get away from using so many fossil fuels. We all need to know what we can do, and what wind resource is available to us.”

Doster, who also owns a manufacturing plant on the north side of Mishawaka, said he would be interested in wind energy for that side of town.

“School projects have established precedence in wind energy,” he said. “I know they’re not great big projects, but they are community wind projects.”

The school board has already allocated $3,500 for lease of the farmland from its Capital Projects Fund.

Squadroni hopes to have the tower in place by the end of this fall.

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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