ARLINGTON, Va. — The new Washington-Lee High School, a public school in Arlington County, recently received LEED Gold certification — the second public school project in the state to do so.
McDonough Bolyard Peck Inc. of Fairfax, Va., provided construction management for the $85 million replacement. Grimm + Parker Architects of McLean, Va., provided design services, and Hess Construction Co. was the contractor.
The project replaces a facility that dated back to the 1920s. The previous building had undergone several renovations over the years and was no longer an efficient structure to operate.
“From the very beginning, school officials wanted this new school to be a model of efficiency,” says Doug Wrenn, senior project manager with MBP. “They wanted to build as green as possible.”
Originally, the new structure was expected to be a LEED Silver-certified facility, says Wrenn. However, the contractor was able to build the school in a more efficient manner that helped officials achieve a higher certification.
Each room at the 279,000-square-foot high school features occupancy sensors designed to regulate HVAC systems and lighting. A competition-sized pool draws heat from the locker rooms and other nearby areas to heat the water, and a 20,000-square-foot green roof was designed to reduce storm water runoff and the heat island effect.
Other features include high-efficiency boilers and coolers, natural daylighting in almost every classroom, and heat recovery systems. In addition, the school has bicycle storage units for 5 percent of the building’s 1,800 occupants, bathroom and kitchen fixtures are designed to reduce water consumption by 40 percent, and mechanical systems reduce energy needs by 20 to 30 percent.
More than 90 percent of the previous campus was recycled through crushing and grinding methods, and steel and other metal from the old building was sent off-site to be recycled. More than 40 percent of construction materials for the new campus were manufactured locally.
In building the school, school officials provided an educational tool to students, as well.
“Quite a bit of education work was done with the students to give them a good understanding of the school and its sustainable technology,” Wrenn says. “Tours were conducted by teachers, who clearly explained how the facility worked, and educational discussions about the new school were held within the community.”
School officials are working to build an informational area that explains the school’s green features to students, staff and the public.