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Wind turbine at BOCES

Students from the pre-tech program at Sullivan County BOCES pose with the wind turbine they created as part of their coursework.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
June 4, 2014

LIBERTY, NY — “In order to be citizens of this world coming up… you have to be able to think critically and work with a team and be innovative and yet have good stewardship of the environment.” Those were the words of Deborah Theysohn, principal of the Career and Technical Education Center at Sullivan County BOCES, as a wind turbine that was created by the students was unveiled on May 29.

The pre-tech program students, in 9th and 10th grades, have worked on various projects over the year including ones that involve hydroponics and aquaculture, but according to instructor Patrick Killian, the wind turbine holds a special place. Killian said, “This is our prize here, this is like our flag on Mount Suribachi [on Iwo Jima] saying that we’re here, we’re technical, we’re going to give your students the best education they can possibly get, and we’re here to stay.”

He said the tower on which the turbine is perched is an example of adaptive reuse. The tower sat on Revonah Hill Road and was installed by his parents in 1963. The tower held the antennas for all the fire department dispatching and all the ambulance corps dispatching in the county as well as the first interconnect channels that were used for emergency communications before the introduction of cell phones. He said the equipment on the tower had transmitted thousands of public safety calls including those related to the original Woodstock Festival.

Now a portion of the tower holds the turbine aloft, and when the wind is moving sufficiently to turn it 130 revolutions per minute, it produces 12 volts of direct current and 15 amps.

Instructor Paul Maopolski said that one of the projects for the students next year would be the construction of a tiny house, of the sort that have become popular lately. He said it will be “basically a small residence on a landscape trailer. It will be built from lumber that is milled at the school and incorporate sustainable energy systems into the house.”

He said they would like to make it a mobile educational tool, where the students could take it to other schools and could teach other students about the tiny house project.