New Electric Charging Stations

Will this encourage people to go electric?


Max Marois, Staff Writer

Before doing any research into this topic, my initial thoughts of the recent installation of the new Tesla charging stations were not positive. 

Over my years attending Sutton Schools, there have been multiple examples of items I believe were largely unnecessary. Some that come to mind are Chromebooks for every student (regardless of if they already have a laptop), the giant outdoor tents that were supposed to be outdoor classrooms (never used), and the giant flat-screen televisions in the lunchroom that are rarely on.

All these examples of poor usage of resources made me very cynical as to why we spent money on Tesla charging stations. Would these become the newest example of a waste of school budget money?

Upon interviewing Ted Friend, the Sutton Schools’ superintendent, he informed me about from where exactly that money came. “Jim Smith [the Sutton Town Manager] writes the green community grants, and he has received over $1 million for the town. He put into the green community grant for four charging stations in town; there are two here and two at the town hall. The electric charging stations came out of the green community grant which is a state grant, so it was fully paid for by the state grant.”

This was wonderful news to hear, but I was also left wondering how many teachers at the school drive electric vehicles? Mr. Friend believes that the new charging stations will encourage teachers to consider their next vehicle to be electric. “It is designed to encourage people to move to electric vehicles. So say a teacher has an electric vehicle in town, and if they drive to commute they can park there and charge their vehicles. I believe at this time they are not going to be charging people, but down the road, they might. Again, it would be enticing to know if you bought an electric vehicle you can bring it to school, charge it there during the day, and you are fully charged. Yeah, it has made me think about it. I am thinking about my next car being an electric car.”

There are a few drawbacks to the new electric car charging system; they did not cost the school any money and they encouraged more environmentally friendly cars. I also had a chance to sit down with Roger Raymond, the facilities manager here at the school. When asked about the new electric charging stations, Mr. Raymond said, “We had talked about this around two years ago. We were going to put two out there (the current location in front of the building) and another one in the parking lot outback. But, we need access to power, so the back was going to be a little more difficult. We picked that location (front) because we already have a meter out there.”

Another question I was querying was could we make money off of the electric charging stations? While Mr. Friend believed that at this time the charging stations would be free, Mr. Raymond speculated that maybe there would be a way to charge people for the service, “I am not sure if the school is going to be paying for electricity, or if there will be a meter like a device on the actual charging station that will charge somebody’s credit card. I am not sure how that is set up.” 

After doing some research into the new electric charging stations, I support the new addition to the school. From what I can see, there is nothing but positive changes that come with the charging stations. They benefit the environment, they do not cost the school any money, and they are a convenient place to charge electric vehicles. Hopefully someday in the future, these charging stations will become more utilized and more people will make the switch from gas cars to electric cars. 

I would like to thank Mr. Friend and Mr. Raymond for granting me the opportunity to do this interview and to educate me on our newest addition to the school.