Thanks to the Green Schoolhouse Series, three Arizona schools will receive makeovers with sustainability in mind as part of an 18-market national tour.
For 14 million American children in school today, December 1, 2011 marked a step in the right direction for a healthier and greener future. This moment in time ceremoniously marked the groundbreaking day of what will become the first ever LEED-Platinum designed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) school right here in Phoenix, Arizona.
Roadrunner Elementary School is currently receiving a major makeover to become a healthy, environmentally friendly and energy efficient schoolhouse serving as the inaugural site of Green Schoolhouse Series.
Aiming to bring greener practices both in the construction of the schoolhouses and the student’s curriculum, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) has partnered up with the Green Schoolhouse Series to put such ideas into action. The well-underway construction at Roadrunner Elementary, expected to be completed by May 2012 and ready for the fall 2012 school year, is just one of three schools in the state to receive a much needed upgrade. Orangewood Middle School and Green Phoenix Learning Center will also take part in integrating sustainable facilities and greener practices as part of the 18-market national tour.
The schools involved in the series are Title 1, low-income, public schools; they will receive facilities comprised of recycled and environmentally-friendly materials with solar rooftops and rainwater harvesting capabilities. Each classroom will also be equipped with state-of-the-art technology incorporating interactive white boards, surround sound, outdoor learning spaces and green gardens. These upgrades come as a stark contrast to the outdated portables found on so many school campuses across the nation.
The LEED-Platinum certified schoolhouses aim to have a net-zero energy use, net-zero water use and non-toxic interior environments. As for the technology within the classrooms, senior partner of the Green Schoolhouse Series, Jeff Zotara, says they hope to, “create an engaging environment for the students, while encouraging interaction.” With that, the curriculum within the schools will encourage green practices, such as conserving energy along with learning about the importance of eating healthy and organic.
Built entirely by professional and community volunteers, the construction of the schoolhouses will match the hard work of the teachers, school board members, students and parents of each chosen school who helped to submit the grant application for their school to become part of the Green Schoolhouse Series. In that, the school’s commitment to sustainable practices has already influenced other community members as many local and even non-local business have stepped forward to help make donations.
Although not every school in America is financially able to build LEED-certified buildings, Zotara describes the Green Schoolhouse project as a “national movement and an iconic example of what is possible.” Taking the ideas of living more sustainably, senior executive member of BCBSAZ, Deanna Salazar, comments on the impact of the projects saying, “It’s our hope that these schools will inspire other schools to look at ways green living and healthier practices can be incorporated into school curriculum.”
With the ongoing projects of Green Schoolhouse Series, there are still opportunities to get involved, as each project is 100 percent dependable on donations made by businesses, both small and large.