Energy project brings windfall to RP schools

Pattern Development donates $100,000

By Mikaela Koski
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Stillwater County News

Photo by Christine Bakke Photography
          
Reed Point Superintendent Heather Jarrett and Pattern’s Stillwater Wind project director Michael Thompson.

 

Last Wednesday, Reed Point Superintendent Heather Jarrett received a huge check, both literally and figuratively, for the improvement of school facilities.

Pattern Development, the company currently building a wind farm north of Reed Point, donated $100,000 to the Reed Point elementary school “to assist the school as it recovers from damage caused by its recent bat and termite infestations, which caused the school to close,” according to a Pattern press release.

Jarrett describes Pattern as “a great neighbor,” and in the release she notes that the donation “will have a direct, positive impact on our students and school community. These funds will ensure the health and safety of our elementary students and staff.”

“Reed Point School’s staff, students, and community are grateful for this amazing donation from Pattern Development,” says Misty Ketola, Reed Point English teacher.

According to Jarrett, the school board has not yet decided exactly what the money will be used for.

Stillwater County Commissioner Mark Crago says in the release that Pattern is showing their desire to be involved in local communities.

“Pattern Development has been a great firm to work with for Stillwater County and both Stillwater and Sweet Grass counties should be thankful to have them doing business in our communities,” Crago notes. “It is clear Pattern strives to be involved locally and truly cares.”

Pattern Development Senior Director of Business Development Ward Marshall notes in the release that Pattern is committed to supporting community needs directly.

“We have two projects in development in Montana and we want to be good longterm neighbors as well as help to support the school system in this time of need,” Marshall says.

THE INFESTATIONS

Over the summer, a school employee discovered evidence of a bat infestation in the aging elementary school building; a termite problem also came to light.

A company out of Billings has completed the job of removing the bats, but no final decision has yet been made regarding the hiring process for ridding the area of the elementary school of termites, according to Jarrett.

Elementary school students have been attending classes in the high school as the school board discusses feasible cleanup and restoration possibilities.

STILLWATER WIND PROJECT

Currently, Pattern is working on the wind project in Stillwater County, as well a wind project in Sweet Grass and Park counties.

“Over the Stillwater Wind Project’s operational life, it is estimated to produce more than $18 million in total tax revenue. Stillwater County will also receive Impact Fee payments from the project exceeding $1 million over the first three years of the project’s life,” according to the release.

The Stillwater Wind Project began construction in March 2018 with about 100 workers involved in various activities, according to the release. Once completed and operating, the project will employ approximately six full-time personnel.

When fully operating, the wind project is projected to “generate enough clean energy to power more than 23,000 Montana homes annually.”