The Panther Pit, purveyor of snacks and social hub for Strath Haven High School students and parents during football games at George L. King Field, will be keeping hot dogs hot and ice cream cold in carbon-neutral fashion starting next year.
The Pit’s roof is the prospective site of 23 solar panels which will help provide the juice for Pit operations during fall 2017 and beyond, and will also generate electricity year-round.
The project is the work of a coalition of SHHS’s Green Haven environmental club members and other students, parents and teachers, who form a subgroup of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District’s Sustainability Committee. In conjunction with school supervisor of operations Jim Hardy, school architects Godshaw Kane, and Open Sky Energy of Swarthmore, the group considered how and where Haven might go solar.
Carol Getty of Wallingford, a group member and mother of Green Haven president Madison Baltazar, said, “The snack bar roof stood out as the best option for its high visibility, opportunity for an educational component, and ability to be separately metered.” The installation of solar panels on the Pit’s roof will help Haven boosters run the separate electric meter backwards, reducing WSSD’s overall electricity bill.
With the enthusiastic support of Interim WSSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Pladus and incoming Superintendent Dr. Lisa Palmer, the WSSD School Board in February endorsed the solar project, with the understanding that no school district funds would be used for the anticipated $30,000 cost of the solar panel installation.
The major fundraising push in district schools will begin in fall semster 2016, though donations can be made now through a crowdfunding effort on GoFundMe.com (search for Panthers for Panels), which since its launch last month has attracted pledges from several school district and community leaders.
Pledged donations can be made in any dollar increment. Funds will be managed by the Foundation for Wallingford-Swarthmore Schools, which helped manage the successful Team Up for Turf effort several years ago.
Checks can be made out to the Foundation with “Panthers for Panels” on the memo line and mailed to P.O. Box 288, Wallingford, PA 19086.