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Highland Breaks Ground for Wind Turbine Technology Center
10/10/2008

FREEPORT�Highland Community College�s newest addition, a 5,500 square foot Wind Turbine Technology Center, is slated for completion in late February and will be fully available for students beginning in the fall 2009 semester. The center will provide much needed space to house the state of Illinois� first Associate of Applied Science in Wind Turbine Technology.

During a groundbreaking ceremony held October 9, officials unveiled plan for the facility that includes two dedicated classrooms and a large training lab that will house the equipment, components and tools needed to complete the Wind Turbine Technician training. Students will have the unique opportunity to work on components of a turbine �nacelle� while it is indoors and on ground level. �In planning the program, we anticipated the need for additional space,� said HCC electronics instructor Steve Gellings. �There is a real need for a dedicated facility due to the unique training the students will be receiving, such as working on specialized hydraulic systems and repairing turbine blades.�  funny cartoon pictures

During the ceremony, officials celebrated the partnership that was instrumental in making the program and facility possible. The Wind Turbine Technician program was developed in cooperation with Elgin based EcoEnergy, who provided assistance in developing curriculum and providing staff to serve as instructors for several classes. �The program would not have been possible without the key support provided by our industry partner,� said HCC president Dr. Joe Kanosky.�It is yet another example of how the College seeks to partner with local industry to provide education and training that will meet the needs of the needs of area residents and businesses.�

Shawn Gaffney, president of EcoEnergy, spoke of the need to train individuals to become qualified industry technicians. �Wind energy is the fastest-growing segment of the energy industry today,� said Gaffney. �As more wind energy facilities are developed, the need for qualified turbine techs will increase. We see that as another positive aspect of wind energy � more stable, reliable jobs for our communities.�

Officials also announced that the new center will be fitted with specialized tools through a partnership with Rockford-based Greenlee Textron, Inc. A letter of intent was drafted stating the company�s plans to partner with the College to completely outfit the training lab with tools and supplies. According to the letter, �the partnership is a very exciting venture for both Greenlee and Highland in furthering our strengths in alternative energy and developing a greener and stronger energy industry.�  funny pictures

Highland Community College continues to pursue partnerships with companies in the wind energy industry to raise funds to cover the entire cost needed to construct the facility. Public funds are not available, and the state cannot project when funding will again be possible for capital projects of this nature. Interim financing has been made possible in part by local banks including Amcore, Citizens State Bank, First State Bank Shannon/Polo and Foresight Financial Group (including German American Bank, Lena State Bank, Northwest Bank of Rockford, State Bank and State Bank of Davis). funny images

Local participation has made the project possible according to college officials. Winter Construction of Freeport is the general contractor and R.L. Johnson and Associates is the architect for this project.

U.S. Rep. Donald Manzullo, and State Senator Tim Bivins, also spoke during the groundbreaking ceremony. An architectural drawing of the facility and video of the ceremony will be posted on the College�s web site at www.highland.edu.

Highland Community College offers more than 60 programs of applied and transfer degrees, community education and business training. In addition to comprehensive academic programming, Highland provides theatre, art and music opportunities for the community. Highland Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association�s Academic Quality Improvement Program. Located in Freeport and Elizabeth, Highland is conveniently positioned in the tri-state region with access to several major metropolitan areas. funny photos



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OFFICE OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS
2998 W. Pearl City Road
Freeport, IL 61032-9341

815-235-6121
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