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Ground Broken For New Addition To Iowa Lakes Wind Facility

By Staff | Apr 14, 2009

HELPING TO DIG the first ceremonial dirt for the Phase III expansion at the Sustainable Energy Education Center of Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville are (from left) Darin Moeller, Executive Dean of the Estherville campus; Wind Energy student Jeff Stone; Trustee President Jack Tatman; College President Valerie Newhouse; Ron Litzinger, Chief Executive Officer of Edison Mission Group; Trustee Jan Lund; Al Blum, Chairman of Emmet County Energy; Al Zeitz, Director of the Wind Energy program and Industry Trainer; and Mayor Lyle Hevern, representing Christensen Construction Company. – submitted photo

ESTHERVILLE – Ground was broken Apr. 2, on a new $550,000 addition to the Sustainable Energy Education Center/Wind Energy and Turbine Technology building on the Estherville campus of Iowa Lakes Community College. The 6,200 square foot addition will be built to the east and south of the current facility located on 7th Ave. South, Estherville.

College President Valerie Newhouse said the new addition will serve as a model for consumers and industry, plus allow Iowa Lakes to accept 32 additional freshmen students into the ever-popular program for a total of 102 new students this fall.

Trustee Jan Lund focused on the impact of the wind program on the college and on the future education and growth of wind energy students.

Also speaking was Al Zeitz, director of the Wind Turbine program. Zeitz said the new facility will engage more students in exploring sustainable energy feasibility and application.

Second-year Wind Energy Student Jeff Stone talked about being a non-traditional aged student who is pursuing a new career.

Al Blum, Chairman of Emmet County Energy, cited examples of a local group, which is taking advantage of the wind in northwest Iowa.

The ceremony took on additional significance with the presence of Ron Litzinger, Chief Executive Officer of Edison Mission Group (EMG). Litzinger formally announced Edison Mission’s $100,000 contribution to the facility.

“Iowa Lakes is leading our country in training students, and retraining workers, for the green jobs that will transform our energy infrastructure and our economy,” said Litzinger. “Through a project like this, we are able to give back to the community, support education, and make a smart investment in our own business.”

With the gift, EMG was recognized as a member of the President’s Circle of Giving; they will receive naming rights to one of the classrooms in the new facility. EMG has one of the largest portfolios of wind energy projects in the U.S. A major focus of Edison’s community support programs is enhancing education opportunities with support for math, science and engineering programs that will help build the skilled workforce of the future which will be required to meet the nation’s energy needs.

Phase III will house four labs/classrooms. It is hoped that construction will be completed by Sept. 1. The ground breaking was scheduled in conjunction with the second annual Iowa Wind Energy Association meeting. Construction will be completed by Christensen Construction of Estherville; the architectural firm is Frevert-Ramsey-Kobes.