Head of the Class: Deferred Maintenance
Part 3: Sustainable School Specifies Bio-Swale, Daylighting System
Sustainable School Specifies Bio-Swale, Daylighting System
By Chris Matt, Associate Editor - August 2008 - Grounds Management
Madison’s HVAC system was not the only building component that helped minimize the school’s environmental footprint. The district’s design and construction teams specified a daylighting system to reduce classroom energy use and create a positive learning environment by capturing as much daylight as possible.
“We generally have three banks of fluorescent lights in our classrooms,” Gillmore says. “The first bank of lights along the windows is on an automatic shutoff, so when we have a day that’s bright enough, we don’t need those lights, and they automatically turn off.”
One of Madison’s more unique attributes is a bio-swale. The low-lying stretch of land filters out oil and pollutants from parking lot and roof runoff. The school district is required to treat all water from parking lots, and the design and construction team specified the bio-swale because it treats the runoff naturally without chemicals.
The renovation project also addressed the facility’s landscaped areas. The school’s site spans 7.9 acres, and the design team specified native wild flowers that can survive during the three-month drought each summer in Seattle. The team selected wild flowers common to the mountains and plains of the region. So instead of pruning them, grounds crews can let them grow wild into the hillside. The grounds department also does not irrigate its landscapes in the summer, letting everything go brown.
While the BEX programs are the primary avenue for addressing deferred maintenance, the district also adopted a new facilities master plan in March 2008 — the 2020 Facilities Master Plan. The plan will concentrate on major renovations and building replacements while tackling deferred maintenance projects on other buildings at the same time.
The district has commissioned studies that collect details related to the schools’ physical and academic conditions, Gillmore says. Those details then go into a matrix, which helps the district decide which schools should be remodeled or perhaps demolished and replaced, he says.
With the 2020 Facilities Master Plan and the BEX programs in place, Seattle Public Schools has implemented a system that successfully addresses deferred maintenance and helps the district build facilities that accommodate its educational goals now and in the future.
Says Stephens, “By the time we get to BEX V, the buildings built in BEX I will be 20-30 years old. We will have completed the cycle almost and will be ready to start again. It kind of never stops.”