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Forest City schools’ solar project proceeds, turbine updates planned for the fall  

Credit:  Rob Hillesland | Summit-Tribune | Aug 10, 2021 | globegazette.com ~~

Superintendent Darwin Lehmann updated Forest City school board members on the progress of the district’s wind turbine rebuild and solar generation projects on Aug. 9.

Lehmann announced plans to proceed with a 1.5 megawatt installation during Phase 1 of the field project on a portion of approximately 17.32 acres that the district purchased behind the schools in summer 2019. He estimated that the first phase can be bid for construction by October or November.

The district is following the ISG recommendation about how to proceed with the solar project, Lehmann added. ISG and Consulting Engineers Group are contracted with the district and are undertaking planning and design on the project.

“We’ll hopefully have enough lead time with a spring start date,” Lehmann said.

Other future plans for the new school grounds, with space for both solar collectors and growing plots, could include crop test plots for vocational agriculture/Future Farmers of America classes.

Lehmann said parts and equipment for the decades-old school wind turbine rebuild are now scheduled to arrive from overseas in Chicago in September. Business manager/board secretary Sara Meinders provided a cost breakdown for the parts, which includes $58,155 for an overhauled 600-kilowatt gearbox, $30,210 for a new 600-kilowatt generator, and $32,440 for a 600-kilowatt main shaft.

“They don’t make this gearbox anymore,” Meinders said. “We are lucky to have found it.”

Shipped several weeks ago, parts are coming from the same company – Decowicon – in Denmark, which provided the original turbine installation two decades ago. Decowicon continues to specialize in wind generation development, construction, and consultation.

The school district made a down payment of $61,610 on July 28 and will pay the balance of a $123,220 bill once the turbine work is done and everything is operational. It is hoped the rebuilt turbine will be running in the fall and be good to go for many more years.

In other business:

• Elementary school principal Brad Jones said construction was under way on the new playground project at the school. Concrete was being poured, pea gravel base and rubber mulch set, with construction to be completed by the end of the week.

• High school principal Ken Baker announced that staff is working with Winnebago Industries to develop a student apprenticeship program. He said it should be a great opportunity for FCHS students. Superintendent Lehmann said the Winnebago apprenticeship would be in the area of pre-engineering.

• Principal Zach Dillavou said a new entrance that leads to the front doors at the middle school is finished along with gymnasium painting and new restroom stalls/partitions.

• Meinders announced that a new school bus has been delivered, which will also result in the district receiving a $75,000 reimbursement grant from Volkswagen as part of a three-bus purchase. COVID-19 delayed delivery of the third bus.

• Meinders also reported that $180,000 of third-wave federal reimbursement for COVID-19-associated costs has been received.

• School board members unanimously approved a resolution to transfer $50,000 from the general fund to the student activity fund for expenditures that have and will occur between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, for required athletic protective and safety gear.

• The board approved 2021-22 school building and employee handbooks. Meinders said the handbooks are an improvement from last year. They will provide relevant information to students, parents, and employees in one place.

The board’s next monthly meeting will be held on Sept. 14, which is a Tuesday instead of the typical Monday night meeting time.

Source:  Rob Hillesland | Summit-Tribune | Aug 10, 2021 | globegazette.com

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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