NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A middle school in Norman is getting an eco-friendly facelift.

On Thursday, Irving Middle School held a groundbreaking ceremony for the school’s new, onsite solar panel installation, which was funded by Oklahoma Gas & Electric.

Organizers say the project was designed and implemented with the help of Irving Middle School’s Students for Solar Club.

“This solar installation has been an aspiration of our club for years now,” said Laura Vaughn, a science teacher at Irving Middle School and one of the Students for Solar teacher advisors. “I am so proud of all the students who worked to get this project funded and incredibly thankful to OG&E for making our dream a reality!”  

Members of the club worked closely with OG&E personnel to brainstorm, research, and design the new solar panel system.

“Supporting education and protecting the environment, through unique, innovative energy solutions are part of how OG&E energizes life,” said Jessica King, supervisor of customer programs at OG&E. “The solar project at Irving Middle School checks all these boxes. We are delighted to provide this installation to the school and can’t wait to see how the new technology further energizes education in Norman and beyond.” 

Organizers say the project will power classrooms with clean, renewable energy, while also serving as a research and development project for OG&E.

Through the pilot program, OG&E will provide solar technology to three pre-selected schools in its service area to assess how solar power can benefit schools.

“Because of the new solar installation, our school will now be powered by clean energy, and all the money we save on energy costs will directly benefit our classrooms,” said Salem Kirk, a former Irving Middle School student and the founder of the Students for Solar club. “We are so grateful to OG&E for their donation and commitment to bettering education at our school and throughout the community!”