Dexter Community Schools' Walkway to a Sustainable Future


A look at part of the DCS bus hub drop off loop. photo by Lonnie Huhman

Dexter Community Schools are thinking about going solar.

The project idea is called “Walkway to a Sustainable Future.” The idea was introduced at the Feb. 27 DCS Board of Education meeting by superintendent Chris Timmis, who said it would be solar panel project for DCS.

The idea for this came from students at Dexter High School. In his presentation, Timmis presented some quotes from the students and teacher involved.

“What started as a classroom assignment grew into a districtwide initiative, and it all came from students,” said Debora Marsh, a DHS educator and AP/IB Coordinator, and advisor for the Green Schools Club. “A group of students had a vision for a more energy-efficient school, and instead of saying, ‘It would be nice if…,’ they said, ‘Let’s make this happen,’ and they are.”

Marsh said the students formed the DHS Green Schools Club because they realized that the world is in need of less talk and more action.

“They brought up the idea of solar panels for the high school, but when they found out about the possibility of a solar panel walkway for the bus hub they immediately loved the idea and wanted to make it happen,” Marsh said. “I’m incredibly proud of these students and the work they are doing to make Dexter Community Schools a national leader in sustainability, innovation, and civic engagement.”

Some of the students involved in the idea creation graduated last year. They were quoted in the presentation as well.

“When we first teamed up about a year ago, it was to accomplish the goal of turning our school—and community—more sustainable. Since then, our vision has grown larger than we could have ever imagined. I’m proud to be a part of a community that prioritizes environmental sustainability and supports this project, which will serve as a beacon of progress and education throughout our community and provide a responsible example for our neighboring communities to follow,” said Eren Buyukbozkirli, DHS Class of 2022.

The bus hub, which is the potential location area of the panels, is located behind Bates and near Anchor/Beacon Elementary schools and Wylie Elementary School. The plan would be to have a section of panels for a walkway canopy along the bus hub, plus ground mounted panels nearby.

In giving some details about the project, Timmis said a renewable energy source of this scale is a long-term investment in the district and community.

“The Solar Panel Walkway around the bus hub drop off loop will provide shade and coverage for students as well as a long-term energy source for Dexter school buildings and new educational opportunities for students of all ages,” Timmis said.

In thinking about paying for this, Timmis said a silent fundraising phase has already started and has raised $175,000. The public phase is ready to start once the district officially begins moving forward.

The next step in the process will be to put out an RFP (request for proposals) to solicit bids for this work.

This area near the bus hub could become the location of the ground mounted solar panels. photo by Lonnie Huhman
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