Renewable energy won't be hard to spot — it will stand about 30 feet tall on the campus of the district's math and science magnet school.
The district is launching a renewable energy initiative that includes the placement of a wind-powered turbine at the Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center at 11 Mile and Ryan roads. The turbine, to be installed next month, will generate some power for the building and give students a hands-on lesson in renewable energy and jobs in the field.
"We hope that the curriculum would be a model curriculum and apply to what's going on in Michigan — changing the way we use energy and renewable energy," said Bob Freehan, a district spokesman. "We want to be aggressively involved in the type of manufacturing that's going to be part of our future."
The district plans to develop a curriculum on renewable energy for all grade levels starting next school year.
The wind turbine, developed by Southern Exposure Renewable Energy in Manistee, is small enough to be used in an urban landscape and will generate about a kilowatt of power, Freehan said. Officials hope the device will be a model for a more powerful wind turbine that could save the district money in the future.
"This is more of an inspirational tower to remind kids of just how they use energy and to rethink and reconsider all their energy uses," said Mark Supal, technology teacher at the math and science center. "This is going to make an awareness not to be wasteful."
Students at the center are helping to prepare for the turbine's arrival. Senior Billy Fecteau, 17, and his classmates have constructed a 30-foot instrument to test wind velocity in the center's courtyard, where the wind turbine will be placed.
"I thought it was a great idea they are introducing something into the school system," Fecteau said. "We can get involved. It's a nice example of how we can experience this ourselves."
Parents are pleased about the idea, too. Sandy Stabile, who has two students at Cousino High School, said she hopes the district's interest in alternative energy leads to a cost savings.
"The money they get from the state isn't changing dramatically to keep up with expenses," she said. "If they can come up with money to save on energy things, that's the more they have per pupil."