Tuscarora school officials consider installing a wind turbine

October 09, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — Tuscarora School District officials are looking to the sky as they try to expand learning opportunities for middle- and high-schoolers.

The district is exploring funding opportunities to install a wind turbine on the school campus. Engineering plans soon will be submitted to various agencies for approval.

The project is being done in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Wind for Schools program operated by Penn State University, according to Stanley Morgan, Tuscarora’s facilities director.

Tuscarora is one of three school districts vying for a $10,000 grant for the Skystream turbine, Morgan said.

“What I’d like us to do is be ready to break ground,” he said Monday.

Science and pre-engineering students could benefit from studying data associated with the 55-foot-high pole and attached blades, officials said.

The total estimated cost for the turbine and installation is $23,000, but the $10,000 grant and other, smaller grants could significantly drive down the cost, Morgan said.

Although the electricity generated would be minimal compared to the schools’ power needs, the real value is in the educational opportunities, Morgan said.

Superintendent Rebecca Erb said students could learn from data reported on a dashboard from the device. She said those lessons could supplement ones associated with the district’s solar panels.

The proposal came from science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers, Erb said.

“It’s not for making money off” the electricity, she said.

The school board authorized spending up to $1,000 on engineering plans, permits and other preparation work. It said the actual purchase and installation would need to be discussed further.

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