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GCC Board Approves Educational Wind Turbine at Batavia Campus

June 15, 2011

Genesee Community College’s Board of Trustees agreed Monday evening to locate an educational wind turbine at the Batavia Campus in cooperation with Batavia, Alexander, and Pavilion high schools. Trustees met for their regular monthly meeting in the Batavia Campus Board Room.

The three area high schools received a Title I federal grant to purchase the wind turbine, which will be used by the high schools and Genesee Community College for science and engineering instruction. Trustees anticipate locating the turbine at the northeast corner of the campus. The turbine will be much smaller than many windmills, standing at only 70 feet. The schools identified the Batavia Campus an ideal location for the turbine since it is believed to be the windiest location in Genesee County.

The turbine will generate a variety of wind and meteorological data that will be transmitted to a computer housed at the Batavia Campus. Students will use and analyze the data as part of their educational programs. The College has identified at least nine engineering, chemistry, and physics courses that would use the turbine and turbine-related data. Eight Genesee Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) Physics courses offered in area high schools are also expected to use turbine data. And at least two of the high schools are developing courses that would specifically include use of the wind turbine. Hundreds of students will directly benefit from the equipment each year, said Dr. Eunice M. Bellinger, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. The turbine could also be used for community courses and demonstrations in the future, President Stuart Steiner said.

In addition to its small size, the wind turbine is very quiet, rated with a noise level of 35 decibels, which is softer than a typical conversation. One side benefit of the wind turbine is that will generate about 1,500 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, which will slightly decrease the College’s electricity bill.

Besides supporting educational programs, the wind turbine reflects the State University of New York’s system-wide commitment to an “energy-smart” New York. “We have a real commitment to sustainability and we want to help meet SUNY’s vision of an energy-efficient New York state,” Dr. Bellinger said.

In other business this evening, the Board of Trustees:

  • Approved a Resolution of Sympathy to the family of Rev. Kenneth A. Dodd, who died May 27. Rev. Dodd had served as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees since 1992.
  • Authorized President Stuart Steiner to execute documents for the sale of the Verizon cell tower lease with the College to Unison Site Management. In addition to receiving about $176,000 in the sale, the College will receive 50% of any new revenues Unison generates from cell tower clients. The sale is subject to an environmental review and approval by the Genesee County Legislature, sponsor of the College.
  • Awarded two contracts for various projects on the Batavia Campus, including the replacement of concrete in front of the main entrances, addition of a courtyard adjacent to the Conable Technology Building, and electrical and lighting work on the College’s tennis courts. V.J. Gautieri Constructors, LLC, of Batavia, was the successful bidder for general construction services with a bid of $419,750. Kaplan Schmidt Electric, of Pittsford, was the successful bidder for electrical services with a bid of $212,000.
  • Heard Nominating Committee Chair Glenn R. Morton report that the Committee plans to nominate Charles R. Ruffino as Board Chair for the 2011-2012 year; Maureen T. Marshall as Vice-Chair; and Diane D. Torcello as Secretary. Officers will be elected at the Board’s July meeting.
  • Heard that Karlyn M. Finucane has joined the College staff as technical specialist for the Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) program, which coordinates college courses and services to area high school students. Ms. Finucane is a resident of Lancaster.
  • Heard President Stuart Steiner report that 1,479 students had enrolled in the College’s summer sessions as of this morning. Registrations are still being accepted for the second summer session, which runs from July 5 to August 6. Every area high school graduate will receive a scholarship for two summer courses, and high school students can still register for the second session. Dr. Steiner said he believes that the Summer 2011 session will have the second-highest summer enrollment in the College’s history. Although fall enrollment was not on the Board’s agenda this evening, Dr. Steiner said that the fall semester will likely produce a new record enrollment.
  • Heard Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Gina M. Weaver report that a broad-based Strategic Planning Committee had completed the draft of a new strategic plan for the College. The plan encompasses goals in six broad areas: student success and preparedness; faculty and staff success; economic impact; relevant and impactful programs; culture of trust and innovation; and financial sustainability. Board Chair Charles R. Ruffino thanked Ms. Weaver and the committee for the year-long effort. Mr. Ruffino referred the draft plan to an ad-hoc Board of Trustees Strategic Planning Committee, comprised of Trustees Melvin J. Wentland, Maureen T. Marshall, Donna M. Ferry, and Laura J. Bohm.


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