Spotlight on Cincinnati Public School Designs New Green Works Premiere April 24

April 11, 2008

Schoolchildren in Cincinnati Public Schools are among the first in the state and the nation to enjoy the benefits of “green” design. Cincinnati architects are putting the final touches on sustainable designs for new and renovated CPS buildings, which they will introduce in a public exhibition Thursday, April 24, 6-8 p.m., at GBBN Architects, 332 East 8th St.

Students in the Hughes High School Zoo Academy are already attending classes in the light- and plant-filled Schott Education Center at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The Schott Education Center, designed by Cincinnati-based Glaserworks, is the first, and thus far the only, LEED Silver certified building in the city. But its solitary status will change soon—thanks to an ambitious program by Cincinnati Public Schools

GBBN Architects’ Robert L. Knight, AIA, is CPS Sustainable Design Coordinator. A former president of Cincinnati AIA and current director of the Architectural Foundation, Knight predicts that “the unique program adopted by CPS will make a difference for generations to come. Our architects are on the cutting edge of school design, not just in Ohio, Kentucky, and the Midwest, but in the nation,” Knight says.

Schools with plans on display are AMIS by GBBN Architects; North Avondale by Cole+Russell, Fanning/ Howey, Moody Nolan; Pleasant Ridge and Sands Montessori by SHP Leading Design; Robert A. Taft Technology High School by Voorhis Slone Welsh & Crossland; Hartwell Elementary and College Hill Elementary by Moody Nolan; Dater Montessori and Clark High School by Glaserworks; and Western Hills/Dater High School by SFA Architects. All of the lead architectural firms are based in Greater Cincinnati.

Pleasant Ridge Montessori and Community Learning Center is the only example now under construction. It will open in September. SHP Leading Design and DH Architects worked closely with volunteer leaders to create the healthy, functional building the community wanted. Pleasant Ridge boasts expansive windows that omit natural light, under-floor air-delivery systems, and solar roof panels. All of these features are known to stimulate student achievement and reduce absenteeism.

In their designs for CPS facilities, architects are following national Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines established by the U.S. Green Building Council and advocated by the local and national American Institute of Architects. CPS is the first major urban school district to mandate sustainable design strategies in all new construction. The district expects all new buildings will be LEED Silver Certified. One or two difficult renovations may not accrue enough points to reach Silver status.

The GBBN exhibition and reception is open to the public at $10 per person charge. It is hosted by ALLY and the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati. Reserve by April 22 with ALLY or (513) 541-4607.  


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