MEXICO — The Region 9 School of Applied Technology board heard a report Wednesday night from member Paul Handlen on potential new energy sources for the school.

Handlen, of Gilead, said he recently met with representatives from geothermal and heat pump energy system companies. The companies plan to present a proposal for the vocational school.

A natural gas pipeline may not be available in the River Valley for some time, he said. It is one of the energy sources under consideration.

However, Handlen suggested school officials look into propane gas.

Dixfield board member Bruce Ross said using gas to heat the school saves on maintenance and is cleaner than oil. If natural gas should come to the area, a change from propane to natural gas could be made relatively easily, he said.

A Facilities Committee meeting will be set within the next few days to continue discussions on energy sources.

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The school is heated with oil and finding a less-expensive alternative would help reduce costs.

In other matters, early childhood education instructor Terry Provencher and certified nursing assistant instructor Wendy Low reported on the number of enrollees, successes and challenges of their programs.

Provencher said she is working to establish a credential in a national organization for early childhood education. Seventeen students from high schools in Rumford, Dixfield and Bethel, and one home-schooled student, are enrolled.

Nearly 20 preschoolers ages 3 to 5 attend the program a couple of days a week.

One of Provencher’s goals is to find a way for some of her students to participate in other preschool programs in the area as part of their training.

Low said 17 students are studying toward a CNA certificate. She said more than a dozen of her former students from the past couple of years have gone on to registered nurse training.

Low said much of the emphasis in CNA courses has been on dementia illnesses among the elderly. She said the state curriculum is being updated to include such illnesses because they have become so prevalent.


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