WARSAW — The Warsaw Community School Corporation made it official — the school best known for the black and orange colors of its mascot tiger is going green.
Thanks to a $9.3 million loan secured earlier this year, representatives of the school corporation, along with key partners in the project, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, May 22, to celebrate the installation of solar panels at six corporation locations.
Five schools — Eisenhower, Leesburg and Harrison elementary schools, along with Lakeview and Edgewood middle schools and the corporation’s central office either already have the panels or will soon have them installed. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Harrison Elementary School.
“I appreciate your partnership,” said Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert to business leaders and other partners in the project. The superintendent said the installation of the panels was a moral imperative for the school corporation.
“When we talk about the environment, we talk about green energy and this is a big place, because these schools are going to be pretty much self sufficient on energy,” he said. “When you look at that, it’s something that we’re doing that helps the economy and it helps us locally with renewable energy and we’re really appreciative of NIPSCO for its partnership.”
According to Hoffert and Corporation Chief Financial Officer Dr. Brandon Penrod, the partnership with the utility company will allow the corporation to go to the grid for energy at times when lack of sunlight reduces the efficiency of the panels. Conversely, NIPSCO will collect extra energy when the panels produce more than the facilities requires.
“This project allows us to be efficient with community dollars for funding of our schools and also power, environmentally safe and efficient modules,” said Heather Reichenbach, president of the corporation’s board of school trustees. Reichenbach added that Warsaw schools with STEM education curriculum can also benefit by studying the positive effects the panels create.