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Two of three foundations ready for wind turbines

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

Two of three wind turbine foundations have been laid at the University of North Texas' athletic complex on Bonnie Brae Street.

Officials say recent rains have delayed work on the third foundation, which will be poured once the ground dries.

Crews haven't been able to get concrete mixer trucks in to complete the final foundation because the site rests in a drainage basin, said Raynard Kearbey, UNT's associate vice chancellor for system facilities.

Each turbine, at 120 feet tall with 30-foot blades, is being paid for by a $2 million grant from the State Energy Conservation Office. The energy generated will help power the buildings at Mean Green Village, including Apogee Stadium, the Victory Hall dorms and the athletic center, said Don Lynch, director of system facilities administration.

"We estimate that we will replace about 6 percent of the energy in the complex with renewable energy," he said.

Equipment to construct the turbines is expected to arrive in a couple weeks, once the foundations have cured, Lynch said.

Concerns were raised during last November's Board of Regents meeting that the turbines would draw attention away from the new football stadium.

But Lynch said people will see Apogee Stadium first and then notice the turbines, which are about 10 feet shorter than the stadium lights.

"They won't dominate the landscape but they'll be noticed," Lynch said.

Another concern was the noise the turbines would produce.

Officials have said the turbines will operate at about 55 decibels.

Kearbey said the turbines are far enough away from the stadium that it will have no impact on football games, but anyone on the practice field next to the turbines could hear a whooshing sound from the blades.

"The sound - worse case - would be like a normal conversation off in the distance," Kearbey said.

Once the turbines are built, the university will monitor them as it does all power sources on campus. That monitoring will let UNT know which weather patterns produce more energy and what times of year the wind turbines are more productive, Lynch said.

University officials anticipate the turbines will be generating energy by mid-December. Construction is expected to be finished as early as the first week of November. That month, Cascade Engineering will be running tests on the equipment and make adjustments.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is .