GBBNers Take the LEED at CPS' Growing & Healthy Schools Network

Recently the Growing Green & Healthy Schools Network held a Technical Assistance Workshop for Cincinnati Public Schools. In attendance were CPS school planning teams and architects for the remaining 21 CPS schools to be built, as well as teachers, parents, and other interested community members. The event was held at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ Schott Educational Center, a Silver LEED Green Building that houses the CPS Zoo Academy.

Speakers at the event included GBBN’s Alan Warner and Ron Kull.  Alan, representing AIA Ohio, discussed how the AIA is helping lead the way to responsible greener projects.  In addition he spoke of initiatives at the state level and how CPS is leading the way in Ohio among the 613 school districts. CPS is the first school district in Ohio to adopt sustainable design guidelines -- a collaborative effort between CPS and members of GBBN's sustainable Design team. Ron spoke about his request to the CPS School Board to “adopt a policy that would make all Segment 3 schools conform to LEED for Schools Silver criteria”. As a part of this, GBBN will show it’s commitment to Green Design by designating team member Bob Knight to manage all AOR’s progress in meeting the LEED requirements. Shortly after the workshop Bob was meeting with ALLY, (Alliance for Leadership & Interconnection) CFT (Cincinnati Federation of Teachers), and the Woman’s City Club of Greater Cincinnati to make immediate plans for CPS.

The highlight of the event was the table talk sessions where everyone in attendance was able to connect with local experts on a number of topics including community engagement, storm water issues, soil & water conservation, daylighting, designing systems for green schools, and many others. Steve Karoly attended a session on demolition and recycling and was able to find out information on local companies that provide free recycling for schools. Andrew Plogsted attended a session on storm water design where he learned that the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) is listening and willing to work with architects.

The workshop also allowed CPS to voice concerns that were of importance to them so that the design teams can work to achieve those objectives.  “I believe it’s really about a partnership of working with CPS to incorporate sustainable objectives” said Marcie Kinney, who is currently working on a design for the Academy of Multilingual Studies (AMIS) for CPS with Aaron Anderson.  MSD announced their interest and commitment in providing all of CPS' new school buildings with funding for sustainable storm water strategies, including the incorporation of green roofs -- the first such collaborative program in the country. Karen Ball from MSD spoke about GBBN’s CPS school, Carson Elementary, which is currently under construction.  She believes that Carson is the first and best candidate for this new program. Together, GBBN and MSD are looking into incorporating several additional sustainable objectives in CPS buildings to aid MSD in their efforts to clean up the combined sewer problems that plague our local waters. Some items being considered are green roofs, pervious paving for playgrounds and parking areas, and the use of rain gardens to slow down stormwater run-off.

The opportunity to have many parties in the same room to further conversations about sustainable objectives made this event an important step for Cincinnati Public Schools. With events like this one, they continue to show that they are working to further their goals to building and operating sustainable schools. GBBN looks forward to being a big part of those efforts over the immediate future.

Alan will be presenting "Red State, Blue State, Green State -- the state of green in the State of Ohio" at the AIA Ohio Convention in Columbus on September 29th.