The controversial electricity-generating wind turbines located at Rim of the World High School may start turning again now that Rim of the World Unified School District and its consultants seem to be coming to some sort of compromise.
At its March 17 meeting, trustees agreed on a 3-0 vote to spend $17,796 to purchase four new 23-foot steel support poles for the wind turbines, located next to to high school’s Performing Arts Center.
But the question has always been who is responsible—or liable—for not only purchasing new support poles but taking down the existing poles and installing the new ones? The total bill to remove, buy new support poles and install them is projected to be around $60,000.
The main issue centers on the safety of students walking near the poles. Last year California’s Division of the State Architect (DSA) told the school district it would not grant certification of the existing steel poles supporting the wind turbines because the state agency could not verify the structural integrity of the welding. The poles were manufactured in China.
This was after Rim three years ago signed off on the purchase and cost of installation of the turbines and their support poles.
Since last year the turbines have been locked to keep them from spinning.
At the Oct. 15, 2015, board meeting, trustee Richard Lavin asked if the district had exhausted legal actions for holding the original supplier of the steel poles responsible. His question potentially would also extend to the district’s consultants, PJHM Architects and Tilden Coil Constructors. The district has been investigating the question.
At the April 21 board meeting, representatives from PJHM Architects and Tilden Coil Constructors told trustees they were still researching who, if anyone, might be responsible for the costs involved for removing, buying new poles and installing them—following DSA certification of the new poles.
But even if the district ended up having to foot the bill for the new poles, representatives for the two consultants said they would not charge for additional related work.
“Tilden-Coil will supervise and manage the switch out of the poles at their own cost. No charge to the district.”
The district’s architect made a similar promise.
“PJHM will supervise and manage the switch out of the poles at their own cost. No charge to the district.”
Whether Rim will have to spend $17,796 for new poles remains uncertain.
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