SANFORD, N.Y. — Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways (GSNYPENN) on Aug. 27 formally opened the organization’s new solar STEM lab and classroom at the council’s Amahami Adventure Center in the town of Sanford in Broome County.
STEM is short for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The one-story building, located at 434 Page Pond Road, includes a solar equipment viewing area with solar energy gauged in real-time and displayed on TV monitors. It also has two “truth panels” that provide a behind-the-scenes look into the floor-heating application, insulation, and wiring. The building is self-sustaining for its electrical needs, GSNYPENN said.
Solar roof panels installed on a standing seam metal roof are predicted to contribute “substantially” to the energy needs of the entire camp property at a projected savings of $9,000 annually.
Funding for the $300,000-plus project included donations from four Girl Scouts alums and families who wish to remain anonymous.
The project was also supported by community grants from Robinson Broadhurst Foundation in Stamford in Delaware County, United Way of Broome County, Community Foundation for South Central New York, the Guthrie health system, IBM (in recognition of GSNYPENN board member Michael Sabo’s volunteer service and retirement from the company), P&G Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Rotary District 7170, Friends of Amahami, and many individual donors.
In-kind support was provided by SUNY Broome Community College, with students under the direction of Patricia Evans, associate professor and chair of visual communications, providing interior design concepts.
Project contractor Randy Hay of Randy Hay Construction Inc., which is located in Chenango Forks, and project architect Elizabeth Davidson joined GSNYPENN CEO Julie Dale and Karen Hegeman, chair of the GSNYPENN board of directors, for the Aug. 27 ceremony.
In addition, representatives from the Community Foundation of South Central New York/Women’s Fund, United Way of Broome County, ETM Solar Works, Friends of Amahami, District Rotary 7170, and GSNYPENN staff also attended.
The green facility supports girls as leaders in STEM fields and “serves as a resource” for communities in greater Binghamton and the Southern Tier.
“According to research,” STEM occupations are growing at double the rate of other professions in the U.S. Women hold less than 28 percent of these jobs yet make up more than 47 percent of the workforce. Over the next 10 years, 1 million new STEM professionals will be needed, the organization said.
“We know that to be effective, STEM engagement needs to start early on. The STEM lab helps us continue our mission of building tomorrow’s female leaders by preparing girls for careers in STEM through their Girl Scout experience,” Julie Dale, CEO of GSNYPENN, said. “We hope the lab is not only a place to be creative and learn but a space that feels ‘alive’ thanks to unique features showcasing how its green elements work. We’re very grateful to the donors and community organizations that stepped up to make this a reality for our girls and the region.”