WOOSTER: The private College of Wooster is poised to unveil the largest solar roof of any college nationwide come December.
Laurie Stickelmaier, vice president of finance and business, said the roof is part of the Scot Center, a $28 million addition to the existing physical education building.
The 123,000-square-foot addition will offer many of the recreational upgrades that today's college students have come to expect, from an indoor track and fitness center to aerobics studios.
But the building's real star quality comes in the 20,000-square-foot roof, which will generate 271,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year — enough to supply the needs of a residence hall on the Wayne County campus.
''We are interested in sustainability efforts here on campus and said, 'Wow, wouldn't that be great to do solar panels?' '' Stickelmaier said.
''We're doing it partly as a statement — that this is important to our students, faculty and alumni.''
The Scot Center is the last project in a 2007 revision to the college's master plan. Since the late 1990s, Wooster has tackled $150 million in construction projects, including the Scot Center.
But unlike tax-supported universities that count on capital money from the state to fund construction, Wooster is in the enviable position of being able to finance its projects almost entirely through donor gifts.
College officials are borrowing only $3 million to construct the Scot Center, for example, with the other $25 million coming from benefactors.
As for the solar roof, the college contracted with the renewable energy company Carbon Vision for construction.
Carbon Vision of Shaker Heights will lease the solar installation to the college for 19 years. After that, Wooster can purchase the installation, which will have a life of up to 40 years.
The company also completed a similar solar installation on the $12 million Coleman Sports, Recreation and Fitness Center at Hiram College in Portage County last year.
Stickelmaier said Carbon Vision told her their project was the largest one at a college or university nationwide. Companies have installed larger systems in noneducational settings.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at 330-996-3729 or email@example.com.