Trees give way for Wor-Wic geothermal energy project

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An 18-month project to install some 270 individual geothermal wells that will provide HVAC heating and cooling water to two Wor-Wic Community College buildings has resulted in a dramatic change to the college’s entrance way.

After being postponed for nearly a year, the much anticipated and critically needed Geothermal Project for Maner Technology Center and Brunkhorst Hall is underway. Contractor Whiting-Turner erected a construction-area fence last week and began removing trees from the northwest front of the college on Friday.

For years the college has had a screen of primarily pine trees positioned between the buildings and Walston Switch Road. Both the tree removal and overall project have Maryland Department of the Environment approval.

When the trees have been removed, the site will undergo erosion control measures and a field construction office will be placed on the property.

Trees adjacent to the visitor’s parking lot further south on Walston Switch not be disturbed.

“The overall esthetics of this entire area will be changed significantly from what we are accustomed to seeing when driving to and exiting from campus,” Wor-Wic President Dr. Ray Hoy said in a memo to college students and staff members.

“These trees are being removed to provide the vast amount of contiguous space required to install the 270 individual geothermal wells that are needed to provide HVAC heating and cooling water to every space in MTC and BH,” he wrote.

“While the decision to remove these trees was not taken lightly, it quickly became apparent that it was the most prudent plan of action when weighed against the environmentally favorable aspects of a Geothermal HVAC system at MTC and BH, the construction cost savings realized by placing the well field closer to the buildings it will ultimately serve and the vast amount of forest conservation and wetland areas we already preserve,” Hoy said.

Hoy said the construction activity on the campus’ northwest corner will be complete by summer, but the HVAC work will continue for more than a year.

 

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