OUSD Facility Earns California’s Highest Honor For
La Escuelita Education Center (LEEC), the District’s first “grid-neutral” school, to receive award for meeting the California Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CA-CHPS) sustainability standard
Event: California Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CA-CHPS) Award Presentation
Date: Friday, October 3, 2014
Venue: 1025 4th Avenue, Oakland, CA 94606
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Oakland – October 2, 2014 – The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) will receive California’s highest honor for sustainable school construction in a ceremony at La Escuelita Education Center (LEEC) on Friday, October 3. State Senator Loni Hancock and California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister will present the award to the Oakland Board of Education and OUSD Superintendent at the District’s first “grid-neutral” campus, which is home to La Escuelita Elementary School, MetWest High School, United National Child Development Center, the Youth Heart Health Center, KDOL-TV27 and OUSD’s Technology Services Data Center.
The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) has certified La Escuelita as meeting its stringent, CHPS-verified standard for green buildings, a standard only a tiny percentage of school buildings have met. The CHPS-Verified rating program combines a state-specific standard for the construction of healthy, high-performance schools with a third-party evaluation to ensure the promised benefits are delivered. Compliance with the CHPS-Verified program demonstrates that a school has satisfied one of the strictest standards for green school design.
“The greater Oakland community can take great pride in knowing that this school project was conceived, designed, and constructed to meet rigorous healthy high performance standards,” noted Andrew McAllister, Commissioner of the California Energy Commission and CHPS Board Member. “It makes a bold statement that this community cares about its students, cares about its staff, and cares about the sustainability of the planet. I strongly believe that these values go hand-in-hand, and commend Oakland for demonstrating that!”
One of the healthiest and must sustainable buildings in California, La Escuelita Education Center has solar photovoltaic panels on all four buildings, providing approximately 600 KW of energy. In addition, high, operable windows maximize daylight and ventilation while an aqueduct system collects rainwater for re-use as irrigation. The LEEC is not just an isolated example, but rather, reflective of a design philosophy centered on the construction of safe, healthy, and nurturing spaces for children.
“As a school district, we have a moral duty to develop children into more than just strong students. We must also prepare them to be engaged, contributing, and productive citizens with a concern for the people and the world around them,” explained OUSD Superintendent Antwan Wilson. “We can model this ethos in many ways, including the emphasis we place on the built environment that students occupy each day. Constructing “green” buildings and implementing sustainable practices is central to the civic obligation of a school district—preparing the next generation of conscious leaders and providing a foundation for continuous improvement in the community.”
Designed by Oakland-based SVA Architects (formerly MVE), La Escuelita Education Center represents OUSD’s commitment to high-quality sustainable facilities for students, staff, and communities. LEEC recently received a rating of 56 points from the Coalition of High Performance Schools—
one of the highest marks in the state—while earning the Award of Excellence at the 2014 Coalition of Adequate Housing (CASH) conference and Honorable Mention at the 2014 American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Conference.
“It’s tremendously encouraging to see Oakland take a leadership role on one of the most important issues of our time—responsible management of the environment,” said State Senator Loni Hancock. “Sustainable development is not a luxury or a frill, but rather a practical response to needs of this and future generations. La Escuelita Education Center is a wonderful illustration of that principle.”
Unlike most other schools buildings, La Escuelita Education Center has minimal negative impact on the environment. Just as important, its numerous conservation features provide rich teaching and learning opportunities for OUSD students.
“Teaching children to be good environmental stewards is a worthy endeavor from a moral standpoint, and it also offers significant academic benefits through its alignment with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum, which is an area of emphasis for OUSD,” said Oakland Board of Education District 1 Director Jody London. “That’s why it’s exciting to know that this incredible building will be used as a tool to educate students and community about green construction, design and sustainability.”
La Escuelita Education Center also supports one of OUSD’s top priorities—creating safe, healthy, welcoming, and nurturing spaces for students to learn. As OUSD’s Deputy Chief of Facilities Timothy White explains, “High performance schools represent a profound investment in the learning environment and pay dividends in the form of improved indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustics. They also reward the community with decades of lower operating costs due to reduced water and electricity usage while educating future citizens on the benefits of environmental stewardship. It’s humbling to realize this building provides a legacy that Oakland student can enjoy for generations."