(Times Bulletin/Lindsay McCoy)
(Times Bulletin/Lindsay McCoy)

Times Bulletin News Writer


VAN WERT - Solar energy is finally becoming a reality for Vantage Career Center as the Board of Education approved the long awaited contacts with Solar Planet. The agreement will remain in place for 25 years.

"The discussion took much longer than thought but was time well spent," said Superintendent Staci Kaufman.
Surveying will be completed this week with the array set to be placed on the north acreage. The one megawatt unit will consist of about 4,200 solar panels. Typically, the operation will provide at 750 kilowatts. Vantage will own the land, but Solar Planet will own the array. Vantage will be purchasing energy for a slightly cheaper than the regular rate. After 10 years, Vantage has the option to purchase the array and will be offered this agreement again every five years following, but Kaufman does not think that is a feasible idea for the district at this time.

"Prices are fixed and predictable," said Kaufman. "While the world of energy changes around us, we are providing a predictable and clean product to Vantage."

Drawings for the project are already underway and have been approved by American Electric Power. A permit is expected to be received two weeks after the drawings are complete, with the project beginning four to six weeks following that. The project is expected to take 60-90 days. Those in connection with the school will be able to view real-time power generation via computer and iPad once the array is complete and functioning.

Student Services Supervisor Ben Winans reported that sophomores in surrounding schools have been given a presentation about the opportunities of attending Vantage. Students were shown a video highlighting the Vantage programs offered. Vantage students were also in attendance to relate their own experiences to young students.

Sophomore Day was held at Vantage on Wednesday, and students had the opportunity to choose and visit two programs. Over 700 students were in attendance at the event. March 6 is the application deadline, but students have already come in to sign up for their desired program. Tentative acceptance letters will be sent out until students meet their sophomore requirements.

OGT testing will be held in March with over 100 students expected to take the test at Vantage. Many teachers have offered their personal time to help students outside of the classroom for this important test. OGT documents can now be opened at home for students to do additional practice.

District Treasurer Lori Davis reported that the school is still under budget on the construction project. Around $600,000 of excess money is expected which will be used towards smaller, auxiliary projects. Reappraisal of the new building will be done in the next three months.

The Vantage open house will be held Feb. 25, with the dedication ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. Vantage has also been nominated for The Golden Shovel award for the Paulding Chamber of Commerce and awards.

Vantage has also been selected by Ohio State Representatives as one of two schools to represent tech schools at the Ohio Governors presentation to be held at Apollo Career Center in Lima.

Pete Prichard, adult education director, reported that Vantage will be partnering with the Northwest State Community College for college accreditation for the adult education program. The board also approved several adult education employees.