Weekend sale to benefit school group

Windplanners nears fundraising goal

By Shlomit Auciello | May 23, 2011
Photo by: Shlomit Auciello Camden Hills Regional High School teachers and Windplanners advisor Margo Murphy describes the location and quality of the wind resource students hope to harvest.

Rockport — On Friday and Saturday, May 28 and 29, the Camden Rotary Club will hold a yard sale to help Camden Hills Regional High School's Windplanners meet their goal of installing an energy-generating wind turbine on school grounds.

"We're in what we're hoping will be the final lap," Camden Hills teacher Margo Murphy said May 22.

She said the group fluctuates with about a dozen members very active and twice that many participating in one way or another.

"For these guys graduating, it's really about getting our turbine installed," said Murphy.

"We put a deposit down," said senior Aurora Stromberg, 18, of Rockport. "We want to break ground, but we have to raise all of our money before we do that." Stromberg is one of two Windplanners with less than two weeks left until graduation.

At their May 22 meeting, the Windplanners were discussing whether they should order the turbine now, in order to have it on site once the final $44,000 is in hand. The group has already raised more than $400,000, about half of which came in the form of a matching grant from an anonymous donor.

Jake Klingelhofer, 17, of Rockport said there was no place designated to store the equipment safely.

The group is waiting to hear about some grants it has applied for, and is planning a community business campaign that will approach area businesses for assistance in completing this phase of their project. They said the group Friends of the Community School District was helping with the business campaign.

The turbine will carry a five-year warranty and Windplanners has made a commitment that the school district will not pay for the machine or its maintenance. Murphy said continued energy savings would cover the costs beyond that point.

"As soon as we get the green light, we will probably have a groundbreaking ceremony and a community celebration," said Murphy.

Murphy said that once the equipment is up and generating electricity, the group will be busy monitoring the amount of power generated and consumed by the school, and looking for ways to be more efficient in power use, school-wide. Those efficiencies will mean that the turbine will produce a higher percentage of overall consumption.

She said she expected the turbine to produce between 10 and 15 percent of the school's electricity and save $12,000 to $20,000 a year. Previous monitoring has shown the wind resource is best during the daytime in the months when school is in session.

The Camden Rotary Yard Sale will take place on Friday and Saturday, May 28 and 29, at the former Rockport Elementary School East site at the corner of Route 1 and West Street. Items may be donated on Friday, May 27 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

For more information or to arrange a donation, contact Susie Goddard at sbodymind@aol.com or call 975-2528.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by -mail at sauciello@villagesoup.com.

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