By Erich Hiner
CG News Editor
Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and an area elementary school are among the 18 recipients of this year’s grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Announced by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland this week at the 2009 ARC Conference in Athens, the grants will allow the schools to expand their programs and educate students about energy in Appalachian Ohio. The Voinovich School will receive $100,000 and $45,000 will go to West Elementary in the Newcomerstown Exempted School District in Tuscarawas County for the construction of a 10-kilowatt wind turbine.
At a Tuesday press conference in Baker University Center, Strickland praised the ARC’s awarding of the grants as a step toward modernizing Ohio’s economy through green energy development.
“Partnerships with the ARC and our local universities and schools are making it possible for Ohio to advance toward our goal of becoming a global leader in developing and supplying next-generation energy technologies in the world while employing more and more hard working Ohioans to make it happen,” Strickland said.
The project at West Elementary was chosen because of its educational value for students, parents and staff. Strickland said the turbine will be a useful teaching tool and could save the district $2,400 to $3,000 a year in electricity costs.
The Voinovich School was chosen so it could expand its “energy efficiency and energy services work,” Strickland said. Students at the school are trained as consultants who can then educate local leaders about new energy technology and sustainability. Such services are important because they help spread environmental knowledge, Strickland said.
ARC officials said this year’s grants were especially competitive. More than 70 schools, colleges, vocational centers and non-profits applied for grants and requested a total of nearly $3 million, ARC Federal Co-chair Anne Pope said. Eighteen applicants were chosen from 12 of the 13 Appalachian states.
At the press conference, Strickland accepted a check made out to “the people of Appalachia” from the ARC in the amount of $470,000, the total amount that will be disbursed in grants to the chosen projects.