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Oakridge School District receives two large generators to complete 3-year-long renovation project

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Graham Menser, of Scofield Electric Co. helps guide the first of two generators into place while Randy Meyers, superintendent for McKenzie Commercial, operates the forklift. Herald photo

By GEORGE CUSTER/Editor/The Herald  —  On Tuesday, two large 150-kilowatt generators were lowered into place behind the Oakridge High School onto concrete pads that had been poured earlier. With the addition of these generators, the high school will be capable of providing the required energy to the emergency shelter in times of need.

Generators will provide power for necessary services

The propane-fired generator motor can produce 150,000 watts of electricity. Herald photo

The backup emergency power will provide lighting, heat and power to the newly renovated multipurpose room.  That room, complete with showers and other basic amenities, will be used to house people during times when power may be out for extended periods of time in our community.  Also, pathway lighting will be available from that room to the cafeteria which will include the full resources of the kitchen.

Each of the giant generators will be fueled by its own 2,000-gallon propane tank, provided as part of the overall project. The two generators can be run separately or simultaneously, as needed, according to Jim Mender. Jim is the owner of McKenzie Commercial. At full load, the generators can produce enough power to sustain required emergency services for up to four days.

Two 2,000-gallon propane tanks stand ready to feed fuel to the massive generators when needed. Herald photo

McKenzie Commercial has been the general contractor throughout the entire project.  Mender said, “We’re very proud of how it all came together.” On working with Oakridge Schools Superintendent Reta Doland, Jim said, “It’s been an honor working with Reta”.

A long-time project in the making

The nearly 3-year project was funded by a combination of Lane County bond fund, a U.S.D.A. grant, and a seismic retrofit grant.

I had the opportunity to tour the reworked spaces some time ago while it was still in process.  This place is safe. The seismic retrofitting will ensure that much of the original structure can withstand much heavier loads than before. The new maple gym floor is beautiful, as is the new multipurpose room. The generators will have enough power to provide fresh air circulation into the gym, as well. I’m sure I’ve stayed at motels when I was younger that were not as nice.

Persistence was the key to completing the project

It has obviously been a project of patience and determination. Superintendent Doland was excited and proud to show off the work that had been done to that point. She called The Herald as soon as she knew that the generators were scheduled to be installed.

And proud she should be. Local residents should feel comforted knowing that our high school has a safe, functional, and well-equipped facility ready to “throw the switch” when an emergency situation occurs.

Graham signals to lower the 2nd generator onto its prepared slab. Herald photo

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