Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

AES Donates Elementary School to Panama

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

AES Donates Elementary School to Panama

Article excerpt

Elementary students in Panama, Okla., will be attending class in a new 22-room facility when school starts in the fall thanks to AES Shady Point Inc.

AES Shady Point, a coal-fired cogeneration plant near Panama, donated the new elementary school to the Panama School District in a ceremony Thursday.

The facility cost AES Shady Point $1.8 million in labor and materials, according to Lundy Kiger, spokesman for the company.

In addition to the classrooms, the facility includes a library, speech therapy room, music center, arts and crafts room, cafeteria, gym, media center, nurses' station and administrative offices.

"The buildings are complete and ready for the school to take possession," said Project Director Remus Perkinson.

AES said the building of the new elementary school is being recorded as the first time in the state's history that private business built a complete facility for a state school district.

The company tries "to contribute to solving or mitigating a societal problem that is related in some way to our plant location or its operation," said Dennis W. Bakke, president and chief executive officer of The AES Corp., Arlington, Va. AES Shady Point is owned by AES Corp.

"That is why the AES people at Shady Point decided to preserve forest lands in South America to mitigate carbon dioxide buildup in the world and also why we decided to assist in making this wonderful school a reality," Bakke said at the dedication.

The project was initiated by William Arnold, president of AES Shady Point. Ground breaking ceremonies were held in December 1992 after talk of the project began in late 1991. Two previous attempts by Panama Schools to pass a bond issue to fund the elementary school building failed.

AES has completed this project despite having to cut costs and its workforce at its 320 megawatt plant to help make up a revenue gap in the company's coal contracts. The company, which has about 125 employees, has cut about 25 of its own employees as well as contractors, according to Bakke.

On April 29, AES announced that it would continue to use Oklahoma coal for at least another year at its LeFlore County plant. …

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