STILLWATER, Okla. —
Highland Park and Will Rogers elementary schools are being built to meet the demands of LEED certification.
LEED stands for leadership in energy and environmental design. In Oklahoma, there is only one other school awarded a LEED certification and about 70 buildings already certified or in the process of becoming LEED certified. Jim Ryan, assistant superintendent of operations, said this is among the lowest in the United States.
“What we’re trying to do here is educate our community and region to the advantages of LEED certification,” Ryan said.
Financially, bills are expected to decrease along with electricity usage. They won’t know the exact amount though until they are in the new schools. They also will not find out the final LEED score until the schools have been in use for one year because LEED requires data to be provided to back up how efficient the building is.
“The insulation in these schools is remarkable,” Ryan said. Not to mention the fact that we’re doing geothermal which reduces the electrical consumption significantly.”
Both schools have many features that are planned to remain open after regular school hours for the public to use. Each school will feature a health care clinic which will be open to the surrounding neighborhoods. Both gyms are high school sized with full size basketball and volleyball courts. They also have bleachers, climbing walls, and a stage. The stages were built at a lower height than the standard. This was done with the younger children in mind. Ryan said the gyms, computer labs, libraries, and outdoor recreational spaces have the option of remaining open for the community.
“The whole point of both of these schools is they’re community schools,” Ryan said. “We want the communities in both neighborhoods to use this and the community at large to use these schools after hours.”