From leadertelegram.com: “CVTC plugs Energy Education Center into budget” — By Andrew Dowd Leader-Telegram staff — After several years of fundraising and planning, Chippewa Valley Technical College plans to start building a $10.3 million Energy Education Center in August.

With funding included in the 2014-15 budget the CVTC Board approved at its Thursday meeting, the college plans an addition and renovation of a current building to create the new center at its West Campus in Eau Claire.

“This is the year — after four years of planning and raising money — we’ll get to build the Energy Education Center,” CVTC President Bruce Barker said.

The new center still needs approval from the Wisconsin Technical College System Board in July and a second CVTC Board vote following that. A groundbreaking ceremony has tentatively been scheduled for Aug. 19, and CVTC intends for the center to open in fall 2015.

“The project’s become much more tangible,” Tom Huffcutt, CVTC’s vice president of operations, said.

The Energy Education Center will be created through renovation of three areas in the current Transportation Education Center, plus a 21,300-square-foot addition and a top-of-the-line, energy-efficient overhaul of the building’s air conditioning, heating and ventilation system.

Most of those costs will come from borrowing, but about $3 million will be paid by the CVTC Foundation.

About $2 million in private donations have already been made specifically to the center, Barker said, and about $520,000 in foundation reserves would be used too.

Any remaining portion of the foundation’s share could be paid through borrowing, said Kirk Moist, director of finance and borrowing.

The energy center will serve several programs, including electrical power distribution, electric line worker apprentices, landscape, plant and turf management, agriscience and farm business production management. The center will help the students study emerging sustainable energy sources, clean energy generation and distribution, and efficient energy utilization.

“The continued economic recovery in west-central Wisconsin is tied to energy security and independence,” stated a CVTC letter to the state technical college board.

CVTC’s capital projects — money spent on buildings and equipment — is increasing by about 29 percent in the budget, which was approved in a 7-0 vote of CVTC Board members at Thursday’s meeting.

The college had budgeted about $11.9 million for that in the past year, but is expecting to spend $15.3 million in 2014-15.

Though overall spending at the college is rising, local property taxes for CVTC are dropping dramatically.

The CVTC portion of a property tax bill on a $150,000 home will drop from $260 this year to $137 in 2015, according to the budget.

CVTC’s property taxes dive by $16.5 million in the proposed budget, but state aid is rising by about $18.2 million.

The property tax relief comes from Republican legislators who directed $406 million in state funds to technical colleges from a projected $1 billion state budget surplus.

CVTC accounts for a relatively small portion of local property tax bills when compared to municipal, county and school taxes. In Eau Claire, CVTC accounted for 7 percent of this year’s property tax bill.

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WITC unveils lab home

March 28, 2012

From wdio.com: “WITC unveils lab home” — Douglas County handed over the keys and the deed to a tax-forfeited home in Superior Tuesday, and it became official. The Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College is a homeowner.

They bought the property to use as a lab home for students in the Building Performance Technician Program. Students are training for careers to improve energy efficiency in buildings and homes.

“In a lot of our education we focus on providing real world, hands-on activities for our students, and this is a real world hands on activity,” WITC Academic Dean Ted May said.

Students said they’re ready to roll up their sleeves, “I can’t wait to get working on it,” student, Matt Underdahl said.

One look inside and It’s clear they have plenty to rehab. They’ll use tools like a “blower door” to help fix things they can’t see.

“On this little monitor right here, it tells us what the leakage rate is for the home. How much heat you’re losing, or how much heat you could be saving in our business,” student Derek Leslie said.

From there It’s on to retro fitting the home to save energy and keep costs down. Students said after this house, they’ll be prepared to take on many more in their future careers.

The school said once this property is finished, they’ll sell it and put the money towards purchasing another home to keep the project going.

 

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