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The Suburbanite
  • Stark State to open wind energy center

  • The 12,000-square-foot facility will be built jointly by the college, the Timken Co., the Stark County Port Authority and Stark Development Board.

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  • An $11.8 million center for wind energy research is expected to create 65 jobs and be built near the Akron-Canton Airport.
    The construction of the facility and purchase of roughly 15 acres of state-owned property were announced by Stark State College of Technology officials.
    On Tuesday night, the Stark State Board of Trustees approved  buying the property at Shuffel Street and Frank Avenue NW from the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
    They will pay $200,000.
    Both sides had reached preliminary terms on the agreement in July.
    The property borders the Akron-Canton Airport in Green and the Ohio Highway Patrol post in Jackson Township.
    Stark State officials said they will establish the Stark State College Emerging Technologies Airport campus on the property. The first development will be the Wind Energy Research and Development Center.
    The 12,000-square-foot facility will be built jointly by the college, the Timken Co., the Stark County Port Authority and Stark Development Board.
    “The Wind Energy Research and Development Center will enable our college, students and corporate partners to conduct critical research, development and testing of large wind turbine bearing systems,” said John O’Donnell, president of Stark State, in a statement.
    Project officials hope the center could create and retain additional jobs by attracting manufacturers who build wind turbines to Stark County and Ohio.
    In an interview, O’Donnell said the Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems center at Stark State and this new wind energy center should further define the college as a supporter of emerging technologies and clean energy.
    “I believe we’re starting to brand the area as a clean-energy research and development area, and our hope is we’ll become a manufacturing area,” he said.
    Funds from the Timken Co., the Ohio Department of Development, the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and the Research and Development Center Attraction Program through the Ohio Third Frontier, with in-kind support from Stark State, will pay for the facility.
    The new center would have the capability to assemble and test large, full-scale bearing systems and other gearbox components for wind turbines.
    “The research enabled by this project will help us validate material and design characteristics for the mission-critical components of very large turbines operating under extreme and dynamic conditions,” said Douglas Smith, Timken’s senior vice president of technology, in a statement.
    “Ultimately, the research will help us to develop improved designs to compensate for the unpredictable forces of nature, to move the industry toward more reliable, cost-effective wind power generation.”
    The land purchase still requires approval from the chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents and the State Controlling Board.?