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Pettisville School Board Approves Funding For Wind Turbine Project



The Pettisville School Board has cleared the way for the wind turbine project to go forward by approving bond funding at a special meeting, Friday, June 4.

Steve Switzer, school district superintendent, said the board approved qualified school construction bonds at the meeting.

“We will borrow about $1.7 million, and most of the interest will be subsidized by the federal government,” he said.

The $1.7 million will be enough to construct an electric generating wind turbine on school-owned property south of Co. Rd. D and east of Co. Rd. 19.

Costs for a wind turbine capable of producing 500 kilowatts of electricity were estimated at $1.5 million to $1.6 million.

The Pettisville and Archbold school districts each have over $1 million in grant funding either committed to the project or pending; but the stipulation on one of the grants states the school district must first build the turbine, complete it, and have it inspected and approved before money will be paid.

That meant the two schools had to obtain a construction loan, or “bridge financing.”

Switzer said by borrowing the full $1.7 million, the school will be able to construct the wind turbine. Once completed, the grant money will be used to pay down the balance of the loan.

Then the remaining balance will be repaid from whatever money the district saves on its electric bills as a result of electricity generated by the wind turbine.

Environmental

The project appeared to hit a snag recently, when the school districts were told they would be required to complete full environmental impact assessment studies on the wind turbines.

The cost of the studies, estimated at $30,000 to $70,000, will be paid by the Ohio Department of Development.

It was feared the studies could delay the projects, but Switzer said he had been told that normally, a typical environmental impact assessment does not stop a project.

Those building projects must comply with paperwork requirements.

Grants

Pettisville and Archbold school districts have each been allocated:

•$125,000 from the State of Ohio Capital Projects Fund

•$750,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant program, commonly known as federal economic stimulus money.

•$200,000, which is still pending, from the Ohio Department of Development.

The three grants total $1,075,000.

Switzer said the Pettisville School Board is looking at beginning the bidding process for the wind turbine around Aug. 1. The project should be completed within a year.


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