Lowering of wind turbines comes to completion

By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer

The long process of lowering Cloud County Community College's two Northwind turbines should finally come to a conclusion next week.
Bob Maxson, vice president of administrative services, told the board of trustees Tuesday night that the top sections of both turbines were removed last week. In August 2012, the board approved spending $190,000 to lower the two turbines. A determination of hazard had been placed on the turbines by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2011, which had been holding up receipt of grant money.
The company that is lowering the turbines was to begin the work in November, but there were manufacturing issues with the new shorter sections of the turbines, and MUTI rejected the parts.
Now that the sections have been removed, Maxson said last night that the project has hit another snag. When the new sections arrived last week, it was discovered that the paint was damaged during transport. The sections were inspected, and it was determined that they needed to be repainted. Maxson said the sections are currently in the college's hangar at the airport and are in the process of being repainted.
Work is scheduled to begin again on Monday, and the turbines should be operational by the end of next week.
"Everything is here," Maxson said. "It's just a matter of getting the paint cleared up."
Maxson also reported to the board that a company has offered to purchase the blades from the Nordtank wind turbine, which is not in operation.
Last year, the board approved removing the cell and blades of the turbine, and leaving it in place for Wind Energy Technology training. Maxson said last week, the college received an offer from Central Wind Services to purchase the blades for $18,000. The wind energy program has no use for the blades, he said.
"Eighteen thousand dollars is better than storing them for 20 years," said board member Dave Clemons. "There may never be another market for them."
The rest of the board agreed with Clemons, and approved moving forward with the sale of the blades.
In personnel matters, the board approved extending the contract of college President Danette Toone. Following her annual evaluation earlier in the month, the board agreed to extend her contract to June 2016 on a three-year rolling contract.
The board also approved the hire of Molly Skocny as head volleyball coach. Skocny was the coach from 2001-2006. She was hired on a full-time contract, effective Feb. 1, at a salary of $34,000 plus benefits.
Also approved was a change of contract for Tara Shrake to the position of TRiO student support services project facilitator. Shrake previously had a ten-month contract, and the TRiO, which is a grant-funded program, administrative assistant position was recently vacated. Rather than fill that position, the decision was made to make Shrake's contract a twelve-month contract to allow her to take on some of the administrative assistant duties.
In other business, the board approved expenses for Toone to travel to Chicago in April to attend the Higher Learning Commission's annual conference. The estimated cost was $1,830, and board policy requires approval of travel which is more than $1,000.
Clemons and Ellen Anderson were appointed to the college master contract negotiating team, and Larry Henry was named alternate.
The academic calendar was also approved. The start of the 2013-2014 school year will be Aug. 20, and graduation will be May 16, 2014.
Joe Figgs, vice president for enrollment management and student services, reported that enrollment is down this semester. As of Friday, there were 1,515 students enrolled in 16,380 credit hours. At this time last year, the college had 1,605 students and 17,534 credit hours.
Board members may attend the next intergovernmental meeting, scheduled for Feb. 20 in Glasco.

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