Topeka Unified School District 501 board of education members Thursday evening approved a $37,000 contract with a local architectural firm to draw up design plans for a wind turbine on district property at Kanza Technology Park.
Under the contract, Bartlett and West Inc. will provide plans for the foundation, site and electrical requirements for the 160-foot-tall, 100-kilowatt wind turbine, as well as the technical support during the construction and installation of the green energy apparatus.
The contract with Bartlett and West will be paid for by a Westar Energy agreement with USD 501 to develop green energy learning initiatives at Kanza.
Chris Albert, USD 501 director of facilities, said the project is the fourth renewable energy initiative the district has pursued in the past several years, including projects at Hope Street Academy, Topeka West High School and the Capitol Federal Natatorium at Hummer Sports Park. He said between the four projects, there have been about $237,000 in grants and partnership agreements that have paid for the initiatives.
“We’re getting these renewable projects and not using taxpayers’ dollars,” Albert said. “We’d like to be a leader in the state in renewable energy education.”
In other action, board members accepted the district’s financial audit for the 2009-10 school year and the District Citizen Advisory Committee’s report on alternative disciplinary procedures.
In other business, board members:
— Recognized Topeka Big Brothers and Big Sisters for initiatives with community and school-based mentoring programs in 10 USD 501 elementary schools.
— Heard an update on the progress of the fourth-grade, afterschool instrumental music program. The program – held at Chase, Eisenhower and French middle schools – is the result of district budget cuts that forced instruments to not be introduced until the fifth grade. The program is funded through the district’s data evaluation partnership with Wichita USD 259.
— Recognized Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, a graduate of Highland Park High School, for being the longest-serving member of the Kansas Legislature, having first been elected in 1976 to the Kansas House and then to the Senate in 1992. Board members and others praised Hensley for his support of the state’s public education system.
As part of the consent agenda, board members approved the hiring of Seth Bundy as executive assistant to Kevin Singer, effective Feb. 21. Bundy replaces Joyce Martin, who had been Singer’s assistant before retiring last year. Bundy previously was speechwriter for former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and campaign spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Holland.
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