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College's Sustainable Partnership to Power Cars


Electric cars will be able to power up at Tully (N.Y.) High School using energy generated by the sun and the wind, thanks to a renewable energy project created through SUNY Cortland’s Regional Professional Development School program.

The electric car charging station ? believed to be the first of its kind based in a public school will be unveiled at a news conference, scheduled for Thursday, May 12, at 9 a.m. at Tully High School.  It will use the renewable power source that was designed and assembled by Tully High School students with the help of SUNY Cortland teacher education students to power the school’s main athletic scoreboard.

The scoreboard project, titled “Generating Learning By Generating Power,” got started with a $500 mini-grant from the Regional Professional Development School program secured by Katina Sayers-Walker, an assistant professor in the childhood/early childhood education department at SUNY Cortland, and Kevin Sommer, a teacher in the Tully Central School District.

The wind- and solar-powered scoreboard, created with the assistance of Tully resident and engineer Steve Soos, was used for the first time this spring. As an extension of that project, energy generated by the scoreboard’s wind turbine and solar panels will be used to power an electric car charging station that has been installed in the high school. Tully school officials believe it is the first charging station ever installed in a public school.

The charging station will offer a hands-on, environmentally friendly learning experience. High school students will use a 2011 Chevrolet Volt provided by Jack McNerney Chevrolet for end-of-the-year driver education courses. The Volt, an electric car that can drive 25 to 50 miles operated by battery, will be charged using the renewable energy source that powers the high school’s scoreboard. Power generated by the scoreboard is stored in batteries that are designed to last the duration of any school event.

The Tully Central School District is one of 17 districts that SUNY Cortland collaborates with to establish professional development schools. In those schools, prospective teachers attending SUNY Cortland work with elementary, middle-school and high-school students and teachers on projects involving sustainability, hands-on learning, and other areas of mutual interest.