SWIC (Southwestern Illinois College) is the local community college about 5 miles down the road from me. It used to be called Belleville Area College (BAC). Or in the 80s when I was in high school and college BAC stood for "Bring a Crayon." It was a joke, but has since morphed into something pretty darn cool.
It is the end of the Metro rail line by me that I ride often. About a decade ago they built a near world class library, that I head to around once a week to break up the day-to-day of working out of my house. Heck for $20/year as a resident I have a library card and can connect with the state of Illinois Library System where I can get any book, magazine, DVD, or professional journal I want.
Heck the place was founded in 1946, back when the US just did shit and didn't bitch and moan (I'll come back to this), to educate returning vets from WWII (ponder that for a few).
It is about the only place in the area where construction is literally non-stop. In the last year or so they have added something like 100,000 square feet of new classrooms. Doing a Google search for this Diary, they also just gave out raises to 600 employees.
Well background of sorts out of the way I just headed to the store a few minutes ago and I see this headline in the local paper, SWIC Board Approves Solar Project, Parking Structure. IMHO it gets kind of cool below the fold.
They are going to spend $419,320 to build a solar array and Sun-Arbor parking structure (whatever that means), or as the only story I can find says they are basically going to build parking with solar above all the parking spaces. Somehow they can figure out how to fill out paper-work and they are getting $250,000 of that funding from the Illinois Green Economy Network through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Then as you read down in the story the spokesperson for the college says once completed this will save the college $17,000 a year in utility costs, so in nine years they we recoup their entire investment. Let me say that again in nine years they will recoup their entire investment.
As a business person if I could do something like this, invest in the future, and recoup 100% of my investment in under a decade I'd be like can I have another one of those projects please! And another. And another .....
A little thing, but something that made me very happy.
You go SWIC!
This kind of brings me to one of my rants. Basically I have just lost my patience with this nation not doing shit. I am sick and tired of hearing it is too hard to convert that closed car factory to make electric cars. That it is just too hard to fix our bridges or our schools. I am just sick and tried of it. Maybe small town America (where I live) will come to the rescue.
My little town of 8,700 gets it power through a co-op. They told us we needed to upgrade our stations and power lines. We didn't bitch and moan about it (OK we did a little) and in 4 months did it all. For those four months you couldn't go down a main street and not see new poles being driven into the ground and new wire being pulled.
If you go down main street or the other main roads today and look up, you see power lines that look like something from the future. Heck just recently we got $750,000 in funds from the Federal government and we wired every government building (library, City Hall, Post Office, schools, you name ) in the town direct with fiber. Looking to wire every business and household with fiber
But then again my city runs a surplus. We do that at a time where two years ago we opened a new $60M high school and this year broke ground on a new $30M primary school.
Oh BTW the other cover story in the paper along with the solar project was this, Proposed Business Park At MidAmerica Could Bring 2,100 Jobs. Think about that for a second. I live in a town of 8,700 folks.
I think where I live is "special." I don't think the people where I live are special. We'll roll up our sleeves and work hard just like everybody else will in this nation. We just have found a way to get funds and we are using them.
And when my local area gets funds we do shit like this.