The Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative gifted the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith’s Sustainable Conservation $1,000 during a check presentation April 29.

Greg Davis, member services manager at AVECC, presented the check to John Martini, assistant professor of electronics technology at UAFS, and Anne Thomas, development officer for the College of Applied Science and Technology, during a visit to the house. The money will be used to purchase new testing equipment for the house.

Martini, who has overseen the renovation of the house, said the gift is much needed.

"Benefactors like Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative who are willing to step up to the plate and help us with the conservation house make a big impact on UAFS," Martini said. "Gifts like these allow us to offer more exciting educational opportunities for our students."

UAFS purchased the house on the north side of campus in 2014 and renovated the property through gifts of time and materials. The facility serves as a classroom and a laboratory for students and will also provide energy audit training.

Davis lauded the property and stressed the positive role it plays in AVECC’s energy efficient efforts.

"From the beginning, we’ve seen our partnership with the Sustainable Conservation House as mutually beneficial," Davis said. "With the education they receive here, they’ll be able to upgrade people’s houses and businesses to be more energy efficient, and to have another partner in that area is very beneficial."

Fort Smith will host an open house for its newest learning facility, the Sustainable Conservation House, from 3-6 p.m. May 27. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the house, located at 1114 North 52nd St., to showcase the facility and promote interest in energy efficiency.

The open house will coincide with the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Ride-and-Drive held at the same location, where participants can explore the fuel options currently available and test drive an alternate fuel vehicle. The ride-and-drive is sponsored by UAFS, Falcon CNG and the Arkansas Clean Cities Coalition.

For more information on supporting this project, please contact Anne Thomas, College of Applied Science and Technology Development Officer, at 479-788-7033 or John Martini, assistant professor of electronics technology at 479-788-7773 for general information about the house.