VAN WERT — When asked if they could see wind turbines from home, a conference room containing 19 Crestview student council members with laptops raised their hands.
“Well, I can see the lights,” one student said.
The group of students and laptops were gathered together to help exemplify what the school does with donations from Iberdrola Renewables.
The company is responsible for the construction of Blue Creek Wind Farm’s 115 turbines in Van Wert, which serve as the largest single taxpayer in the county. The turbines have also been credited for creating a significant boon for local economy.
Part of the reason for the economic improvement is the company’s PILOT payments, which is a payment made in lieu of taxes with the intention to compensate a local government for some if not all of the tax revenue it would lose because of ownership or property. In the second year of the program, Iberdrola Renewables will be making a $2 million payment in two installments. Also home to 37 turbines, Paulding County will receive more than $600,000.
The first installment, presented Monday by company representative Dan Litchfield, is worth $1,038,392.10 in Van Wert and more than $300,000 in Paulding.
In Van Wert, a portion of the funds are designated to Crestview and Lincolnview schools. With the funds, Crestview Superintendent Mike Estes said schools will be able to supplement technology and other resources for the next 18 years.
From last year’s donations, Crestview Local School was able to buy laptop computers for each individual student. Students from seventh to 12th grade can also take computers home during the school year after agreeing to a lease and paying a small fee, which enables the school to remain upkeep for the computers and remind students to be responsible.
Of the 388 students with the option, about 25 have opted out, but are still able to use the computers during the day. Laptop carts are also available to sixth-graders.