Boise Paper donation revs up WWCC wind program

Amid tightening support from the state, Boise Paper in Wallula has given a program at WWCC a boost.

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WALLA WALLA -- Some old industrial electrical equipment will see new life in the classrooms of the new wind technology program at Walla Walla Community College, as well as other electrical classes.

Hauled into the wind technology work space Wednesday on forklifts, the equipment came courtesy of Boise Inc. in Wallula to support the program in the face of tightening financial support for state programs.

James Bradshaw, director of the college's wind program, said the equipment can be used by students learning wind technology, but also by students in the college's HVAC and electrical programs.

"The skills for a maintenance electrician or maintenance mechanic carry from one industry to another," he said.

The donation was made possible through the efforts of Brian Evensen, an electrical instructor at the college, and his father, Mark Evensen, an electrician at Boise for 26 years.

The younger Evensen followed his father's electrician trade, and began working at the college in the fall, at the same time Bradshaw took leadership of the wind program. Evensen soon told his father of the need for resources in the classroom, like old motors to tear up and study.

Leadership at Boise felt a donation of electrical equipment would serve students well, and the donation was carried out, Mark Evensen said.

The equipment, worth about $700, will prove invaluable as a classroom learning tool for future electrical technicians, officials said.

"It's certainly worth a lot to the students here," said Destry Henderson, a spokesman for Boise. "Any time we can provide some hands-on education, it's so much more valuable than what you can read in a book."

Most of the equipment is aged, but may become operational again as students begin to reconstruct it in class.

"Some work, some don't, but we're going to rebuild what we can," Bradshaw said about the electrical motors and panels that were among the donation.

Industry donations are helping support the program even as financing from the state and federal government is getting more competitive.

The program also received a generator from Vestas American Wind Technologies earlier this year that will be programed by students. WESCO in Kennewick also recently donated about 200 feet of conduit.

Bradshaw said the wind program recently lost a grant being sought through the U.S. Department of Labor, but the program continues to seek other grants to keep it thriving.

Boise officials donation was an easy way to show support and faith in the students.

"We hope it helps prepare tomorrow's electricians," Evensen said.SClBMaria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317.

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