Hastings High Adds New Science Wing and Wind Turbine

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The landscape at Hastings High School changed a little recently with the addition of a new wind turbine.

"A few years ago I was considering it with the big emphasis on renewable energy," says physics teacher Jim Fielder. "I knew Central Community College had a small one and so I talked to the instructor out there."

But Fielder says the project didn't materialize until about 18 months ago thanks to a grant and the Wind For Schools program through UNL.

While the small turbine won't generate power, Fielder says it will generate opportunities for Hastings students.

"Just like we have lab equipment inside the classroom, we can point out some concepts and things going on, so it's a learning tool, it's an educational tool for us," he says.

School officials say taking part in the Wind for Schools program fit right in with the revamp of their science department and construction of a new science wing.

"Most of the rooms are designed so that they have a classroom area and a lab facility," says Principal Jay Opperman. "Obviously we wanted to improve our science and then [we added the turbine] outside, and actually there will be a feed into the science wing of data that the windmill is putting out."

Opperman says the new facility and new device will help them expose kids to more career possibilities.

"In any school, not all the classes directly relate to a profession, but it's important for us as a school to be putting out in front of our students what are possible quality jobs," he says. "If you have an interest in science and technology, renewable energy is a growing field."

But the school says the wind turbine can be used in other curriculum besides science: they say classes like American government and industrial tech can make use of it too.