Goessel students ?Can the Teacher? to collect food for families in need

Marc Grout, Goessel junior/senior high school principal, reported at the Dec. 14 school board meeting that the high school student council had sponsored another ?Can the Teacher? day Nov. 20.

Students were asked to bring cans of food for the Tabor Mennonite Church food pantry.

Students were challenged to stack cans of food in front of classroom doors. If a teacher?s classroom door was completely blocked with cans before classes were to begin, that teacher did not teach that day.

Grout reported that students donated 1,300 cans of food, which was quite a bit more than previous years.

?That was very successful,? he said.

That afternoon, high school students raked leaves on 24 yards for people who could not do it themselves.

On another matter, the board listened to a presentation about wind turbines. Ruth Ann Miller from Kansas State University, along with student Andrew Fry, attended the meeting to discuss their findings.

Fry said the wind in this area is primarily from the north and south. He had prepared charts of wind-speed data, based on information from the Newton airport.

Fry discussed options for placing a wind turbine and suggested the northeast corner of the high school property by the ball field.

Representatives of BTI Wind Energy also attended the meeting. Brad Estes and Andrew Trapanese of BTI described the four different sizes of wind turbines their company sells.

Although their headquarters are in Greensburg, Estes said they have dealerships across the country; their wind turbines are marketed in 33 states and six provinces in Canada.

Trapanese, product developer, described the life cycle of a wind turbine project. He said the first question is: ?Does it actually make sense?? He said that question has already been answered for Goessel: ?Yes, it does make sense.?

Trapanese said the second question must be: ?Is there a site?? He said that BTI and K-State agreed on the same site, the northeast corner of the high school property.

The third step is the commitment phase, with a deposit. He outlined the steps that follow: obtaining permits and detailed project planning, which would involve documents for the foundation and electrical work.

The fourth step is the construction phase. Trapanese said it takes two days to install the concrete and one month to cure. It takes a day for electrical installation.

The fifth step is the commissioning phase: checking to make sure all is ready to use.

The sixth step: produce energy.

Estes said that every BTI wind turbine is rigorously tested. BTI?s installers are trained, bonded and insured. BTI offers a five-year parts warranty and a five-year service maintenance plan. During the five years, school personnel can be trained to take over maintenance of the wind turbine.

?This is a tilt-down machine,? he said, adding that it can be taken down for maintenance.

John Bergin, Goessel High School agriculture teacher, asked, ?What equipment other than a winch would be needed to take it down and oil it?? Estes said a cable and shackles would also be needed.

Estes suggested the S343 model wind turbine for Goessel. He said the blades are 101?2 feet long and showed a sketch of how it would work. He cited three factors that would make a wind turbine useful here: good wind resource, production factors (turbulence and displacement), and cost of energy.

According to Estes, Beloit and Council Grove have turbines like Goessel is considering.

Estes said the changing cost of energy is the biggest factor in favor of wind turbines. With a 30-year life expectancy of a wind turbine, energy savings in that length of time could be $72,092. Estes described the savings as ?4 percent of the total energy offset.? The cost of the 343 model would be $41,000.

Superintendent John Fast discussed funding options. Miller said grants could be available, but Fast acknowledged that the school would have to pay most of the cost of a wind turbine.

Board member Kelly Booton wondered: ?From a catastrophic standpoint,? how well would a wind turbine stand up? Estes said a wind turbine can withstand a 120 mph wind, but it could withstand higher winds if it is tilted down.

Miller added, ?No turbine is going to survive a tornado.?

Board member Maynard Knepp asked about lightning and was told wind turbines are not often struck, but that insurance would cover the cost of repairs.

Estes briefly described BTI?s partnership with John Deere dealers.

In other business, the board:

? heard Fast and board member James Wiens report on the Kansas Association of School Boards meetings in Overland Park.

?It was pretty interesting for me,? Wiens said. He had attended a session on ways to get the community involved in education.

?What happens to the school affects the community,? he said.

? learned that Goessel had received the top overall honor for community communication at the KASB meeting. Goessel received three certificates, specifically for the school calendar and newsletters. Fast, Patsy Schmidt (board clerk/district secretary), and Denise Nickel (elementary school secretary) were recognized for their work.

? heard that H1N1 flu vaccinations would again be available for students and staff at no cost Dec. 17, at the elementary school. Students 9 years old and younger need a second vaccination.

? heard from Grout that Goessel FFA students had placed high in Career Development Events on Nov. 23 and Dec. 5.

? heard from Grout that Goessel has been selected to host the 2010 State Class 2A Scholar?s Bowl tournament Saturday, Feb. 13.

? heard that Fast has been invited to Goessel Mennonite Church and Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church to make a presentation about the financial challenges the school faces.

? heard the Marion County Special Education Cooperative report from board member Dan Miller. Another MCSEC meeting has been scheduled for Dec. 21 to discuss financial issues.

?Funds that were anticipated are not in place,? Miller said, adding that he does not have much more information at this point.

? heard The Learning Consortium report from Fast. He said the consortium is applying for an equipment grant through Hutchinson Community College.

? heard elementary school students attended a production of the ?Nutcracker Suite? at Century II in Wichita Dec. 11, paid for by General Foods boxtops.

Fast said the kindergarten through fifth-grade program on Dec. 15 would also feature the ?Nutcracker Suite.?

? noted that Christmas break will be Dec. 23 through Jan. 3.

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