Old Schools, Reinvented
Renewable energy and high-tech systems are first on the list for the schools of the future.
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The quality of a school facility affects learning: Better building, better student achievement. In 2007, Congress proposed the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act in response to the number of dilapidated public schools across the country and the lack of funding to resuscitate them. This bill authorizes $6.4 billion for schools to modernize, renovate, and repair. Congress intends the funding to help schools become more energy efficient and reliant on renewable sources of energy, as well as to create jobs in the construction industry. The bill, approved by the House in June of this year, is currently sitting in the Senate. If it passes, how will you spend your share? Find inspiration from the following schools.
Beverly Vista School
School District: Beverly Hills (CA)Unified School District
Area: 25,520 square feet
Cost: $18 million
Completion Date: September 2007
Architects: Dougherty + Dougherty
In 1989, an earthquake caused structural damage to the theater and classroom building of this 1920s school, and those spaces have sat abandoned since. That is, until the district decided to save this landmark. To maintain the traditional style, Beverly Vista’s old bricks and painted ceilings were restored, and
historic light fixtures were reinstalled. But the school also needed updating. New technologies, such as telecommunications, control systems, and elevators modernize the school, and energy-efficient air and lighting systems do it in a responsible way. The design of the school’s adjacent parking encourages the use of alternate forms of transportation, such as car pools, low-emission fuel vehicles, and bicycles.
The Calhoun School
School District: NYC Geog Dist #3,
Area: 73,000 square feet
Completion Date: September 2004
Architects: FXFOWLE Architects
Due to growing student enrollment, the Calhoun School commissioned an addition that doubled the size of the original 1973 structure. A two-story performing arts center and a 5,000-square-foot gymnasium were added to the city school’s cramped four floors and mezzanine. But what really has other schools green with envy is the school’s eco-friendly roof, transformed from a concrete slab into a multi-purpose garden oasis. The “greening” of the roof not only provides insulation that reduces heating and cooling costs and storm water drainage, it also offers a vibrant space where classes meet for environmental, biology, and geometry classes. Budding writers and poets also take to the roof, seeking inspiration. The herbs grown there are used as ingredients in school lunches.
Cleveland High School
School District: Seattle Public Schools
Area: 168,000 square feet
Cost: $60.4 million
Completion Date: September 2007
Architects: Mahlum Architects
Originally constructed in 1927, Cleveland High School was considered a landmark building in Seattle. Therefore, the city was reluctant to let it go and instead embarked on a renovation that would maintain the traditional elements of the building while at the same time contemporizing it. Designers installed wood paneling to maintain the warm palette and devised new thermally broken aluminum windows that replicated the original wood ones. Vaulted skylights illuminate the interior corridors. All systems—lighting, security, and fire alarms—were mechanized to enhance efficiency. Hallways were widened to accommodate group work, and classrooms were enlarged and structured to create easy access to the most cutting-edge technologies.