New LEED Gold PreK-8 School
High Plains PreK-8 School is the newest addition to the Thompson School District. Designed as a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) and Net Zero ready facility, the LEED Gold school opened its doors in Fall of 2016 to nearly 600 students. The north wing houses administrative offices, Pre-K and Kindergarten suites, a gymnasium, and cafeteria. The south wing houses classrooms for 1st through 8th grades, as well as over 4,500-sf of STEAM space. The east and west wings are separated by a glass-lined hallway, allowing for separation of public and educational spaces, while doubling as a student gallery. Large windows were installed on both the north and south portions of the building, allowing for optimal daylighting conditions in those areas.
A glass walkway acts as both an art gallery for students and a rooftop garden. Atop the walkway sits a 200–sf green roof. The green roof, along with ground-mounded planters, offers gardening experiences for students and a unique outdoor learning space. The nearby High Plains Environmental Center will be connected to the school with a walking path so that class ‘expeditions’ can be scheduled for additional hands-on interactions. The soccer field has synthetic turf and doubles as a neighborhood park. The exterior includes roadways, parking, hard surface play area, soft surface play area, grass lawns, a ball field and a multipurpose field. The buildings are one and two stories, with a steel structure and served by a ground source heat pump HVAC system.
The design also included:
- Modeled EUI, 29.14 kBtu/sqft; cost savings of 58.1% (Year-round operation)
- Geothermal heating and cooling system – closed loop system with variable volume pumping
- Heat pumps are located in mechanical space, not in classrooms, reducing classroom noise and easier maintenance
- Dedicated outside air systems with energy recovery zoned to provide operational flexibility
- Natural gas used only for domestic hot water and makeup air systems with high-efficiency equipment
- Water-conserving plumbing design with high-efficiency tankless style water boilers