COLLEGE PLACE -- One of the Earth Day activities at John Sager Middle School will be in the wind today, literally.
The school is now the site for a residential-scale wind turbine capable of generating up to two kilowatts of electricity. As students and staff watched Wednesday, the 45-foot tall tower was tipped into place and bolted down by Bob and Steve Venera of Central Wind and Solar company.
Although it will help the school conserve electricity, the turbine's primary purpose will be as an educational tool for students studying renewable energy sources, said science teacher Darin Durand.
The final piece fell into place Monday night when the City Council approved the conditional use permit for the wind turbine. A group of Durand's students broke ground for the project on Tuesday and the tower was installed Wednesday.
The project was funded by a $20,000 Educational Renewable Energy Grant obtained through the Bonneville Power Administration by Columbia Rural Electric Association, said Scott Peters, Columbia REA manager of marketing and member services.
Durand said he approached the electric cooperative after Columbia REA helped Rogers Adventist School obtain funding for a similar wind energy turbine erected at the school last year.
The plan wasn't to have the turbine up in time for Earth Day, it just worked out that way, Durand said. "We started talking about it last summer, but had to go through a lot of paperwork before we could put it up," he said.
The Sager school turbine is the third residential-scale wind generator put up by Central Wind and Solar in the area, said Bob Venera. The third turbine is located at a private residence.