Mesalands dedicating new wind research center

Russell Anglin

Mesalands community College will dedicate its new wind research and training center at a closed ceremony Thursday at 11 a.m.

The 26,000 square foot North American Wind Research and Training Center began construction in early 2009 after the college received a $7 million bond to build the center in November 2008. The college awarded Gerald Martin Construction of Albuquerque the bid to construct the facility in December 2009.

According to a Mesalands press release, the center includes a blade maintenance complex, electromechanical laboratories, a lecture hall with 84 seats, portable classrooms, a conference room, student lounge and offices. The college’s 1.5-megawatt wind turbine will provide power to the facility.

On Wednesday from 9:30 until 10:30 a.m., the college will give public guided tours of the facility. The center will be open for self-guided tours after the formal dedication.

David Plummer, Mesalands’ dean of administrative services, said the new research and training center would provide educational and economic incentives to the community. He said the training center would also be open for viewing Thursday from 4 until 6 p.m.

“A lot of programs around the nation, they say ‘We have wind,’ but they don’t have the whole package. Now we have the whole package,” Plummer said. “I’m hoping that this thing, over the course of the years, will help draw businesses in along with everything else that Tucumcari and the area has to provide.”

Second-year student Pete Romero, 19, is one of 58 students pursuing an associate degree in wind energy technology at Mesalands this year. He said he was excited to be among the first students to use the center.

“I’m really excited to get to look at it, for one, and also to see what we can do with it. It should help us get a little more hands-on with what we’re going to be facing in the field,” Romero said.