BNIM - Greensburg Schools/Kiowa County Schools Print
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 07:52

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Kiowa-County-Schools_Assassi_03Photograph ©Farshid Assassi We continue the coverage of the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects with this community oriented green school, set with a rural environment. The community of Greensburg, Kansas was nearly destroyed by an F5 tornado on the evening of May 4, 2007. All school facilities were lost in the devastation. The school district made a strategic decision to combine all its facilities into a single location to consolidate functions for greater efficiency.

This decision was driven by the desire to create the best learning environments, to keep the identity of the three age-appropriate facilities (elementary, middle, and high) within a single building, and to do so with a focus on creating the best long-term facility based on life-cycle cost.

During the design process, the decision was made to pursue LEED Platinum with a constant focus on creating the best daylight-filled educational environment to enhance student performance.

The site selection and the ultimate site development were also critical during the pre-design effort, as they placed the facility in the heart of town along Main Street, consistent with the City's comprehensive master plan. The design team worked closely with the district to select the site and to integrate the facility into the community fabric to establish a walkable community.

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Kiowa-County-Schools_Assassi_02The main school entrance along Main Street Photograph
Photograph ©Farshid Assassi

Kiowa-County-Schools_ContextContext: As seen in this satellite photo, the school is located in a rural town. An inset photo shows a devestated building; the town is being rebuilt after a F5 tornado destroyed 95% of the town.
©BNIM

Responding to the comprehensive master plan, the school was sited in a new location along Main Street to encourage density and walkability between the town’s most critical facilities and functions and to create a destination along Main Street. The town itself does not have public transportation, but the school district developed a unique arrangement with surrounding towns that shares the school’s amenities with surrounding communities in a way that consolidates resources and unites nearby communities.

The design process focused on daylight optimization in occupied spaces, because of the known impact on academic achievement. Two single-loaded academic bars, each with an east-west orientation, optimize solar orientation and prevailing breezes. The lower and middle schools are in the southern bar, which bends to allow three distinct zones for preschool, elementary, and middle school.

The high school is located on the second floor to the north and is placed above key support functions, including the cafeteria and distance-learning facilities. The placement of the high school was partially symbolic, denoting the advancement to higher grades.

Kiowa-County-Schools_Site-planThe school grounds are located along Main Street, in the heart of the community, to promote walkability and provide access to facilities that will be shared by the community.
©BNIM


The gymnasium is filled with daylight captured by north-facing clerestories. The mechanical system is a ground-source, closed-loop heat pump. Energy is net-zero carbon and includes an on-site wind generator supplemented by the city's wind farm. The school utilizes low-flow plumbing fixtures and waterless urinals. The building envelope uses structural insulated panels (SIPs), detailed to minimize thermal bridging, with a rainscreen system of limestone shingle, metal panels, and reclaimed wood. Materials were chosen for their environmental appropriateness, durability, recycled content, and site distance. The selection of furniture, fixtures, and equipment followed similar criteria. Each decision supports the ultimate goal of creating the best learning environment.

 

Environmental Aspects

Kiowa-County-Schools_diagram©BNIM

 

In direct alignment with the town's Sustainable Comprehensive Master Plan, the USD decided to rebuild to LEED Platinum. This decision led the way for the city, which later mandated that all public buildings attain a Platinum rating. This K–12 facility combines the resources of three rural community school districts into a single facility, thereby right-sizing at a regional scale.


The USD understood the importance of daylighting for increasing student academic performance and focus, so the design optimizes daylighting and natural ventilation in all classrooms. Separate zones for kindergarten and elementary, middle, and high school grades allow students the unique learning and social opportunities that each age group requires. The design also integrates the students in key ways in order to build a sense of community, encourage mentoring, and instill a desire for achievement.

The school has a variety of community-use spaces to encourage social involvement. Fitness and athletic spaces meet the larger community's social and recreational needs. Spaces that accommodate adult education and senior citizens' activities are included as well. The program is fully optimized beyond school hours because it connects this small rural community by serving as a centralized community meeting place.


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Kiowa-County-Schools_Assassi_05The school's courtyard is a hub of activity for student of all ages Photograph ©Farshid Assassi

Water Conservation and Use

With Greensburg’s low annual rainfall amounts, increasing the building's water efficiency safeguards resources as water becomes more costly and scarce. The City of Greensburg has no stormwater collection system, and the school site is bisected by a floodplain, so it became crucial to conserve and reuse whatever rainwater falls within school boundaries.

To reduce potable water use, captured rainwater is stored in 6 cisterns to meet irrigation needs during dry months for the native, low-maintenance landscape. An onsite constructed wetland treats wastewater and returns it to the water table. The facility also captures condensation from HVAC equipment for reuse as make-up water in cooling towers.

Water-saving measures were implemented throughout the project; Toilets use waterless and low-flow fixtures. The landscaping is done with an indigenous vegetation that is drought tolerant. Stormwater is managed through contour slopes for reduced runoff then collected and used for for landscape irrigation. Wastewater is treated through a constructed wetland then also used for irrigation.


Energy

100% of Greensburg School’s purchased electricity is from renewable energy sources. A 50-kilowatt wind turbine provides a portion of electricity needs, while the remaining power is generated at the wind farm located outside of town.

HVAC (closed-loop ground-source heat pump) systems isolate unavoidable sources of pollution, provide for adequate supply and filtering of fresh air and return air, and maintain the building and its equipment in clean condition. Controllability of systems, both temperature and supplemental task lighting, improve the comfort levels of the interior environment, promoting productivity and well-being.

Kiowa-County_Schools_Assassi_01The school's courtyard is a hub of activity for student of all ages.
Photograph ©Farshid Assassi


The building envelope, orientation, lighting, and sun-control systems for the school buildings minimize heating and air-conditioning loads. Structural insulated panels (SIPs) were used to reduce thermal loading and create a high-performing building envelope. A rainscreen cladding system improves resistance to moisture infiltration and reduces thermal loading. White and metallic silver roof finishes reduce thermal loading. In conjunction with high-efficiency chillers and modular air handlers, these strategies will reap substantial savings over an ASHRAE 90.1, 2004 baseline building.

Beyond the design, continuous monitoring equipment tracks performance of the systems and equipment in order to verify performance throughout the life of the building.

Kiowa-County-Schools_Assassi_04Laboratory classroom in the middle school, featuring daylight, views, and natural ventilation.
Photograph ©Farshid Assassi

 

Bioclimatic Design

The team used a site master planning process to determine the best location for proper building orientation to maximize passive solar and wind opportunities for the school building, minimize site impact by maintaining the existing storm drainage flood path through the site, emphasize connection to the community, and provide a prominent location to support the shared use of the school facilities.

Daylighting and ventilation strategies shaped the building sections through placement of operable windows, sun shading protection, and orientation to take advantage of passive lighting and air movement. The building’s longest facades face the north and south to maximize daylighting and reduce heat gain from the western sun. The gymnasiums, with sawtooth skylit roofs, are placed north of the classroom and administration areas to avoid blocking sun and air access to these areas. The classroom roofs are sloped, in part to provide for the future placement of solar panels.

Native trees and landscaping shade the south face of the building in the summer and limit heat retention in the parking areas. The site and building design reduce the urban heat-island effect on the town and and school through reduction of pavement, allocation of open areas, and diverse landscaping.

 

Kiowa-County-Schools_Assassi_07Priority was given to recycled materials, like the the interior finish wood. The wood came from salvaged from cypress trees from Louisiana downed during Hurricane Katrina.
Photograph ©Farshid Assassi


Materials & Resources

To avoid harvesting raw materials, products with recycled content were used throughout. Durable Kansas limestone, zinc, and reclaimed cypress were used on the exterior. Inside, raw materials, such as polished concrete floors and concrete block, were used in high-traffic areas, while reclaimed wood was used in tactile areas. Preference was given to materials manufactured within 500 miles, which conserved transportation energy while supporting local industry. An innovative limestone “shingle” skin came from a regional quarry 120 miles from the site.

The school utilizes materials that contribute to the creation of healthy environments for workers and users. Paints, adhesives, and carpets do not contain VOCs.
To mitigate construction waste flow, the team incorporated reclaimed materials, from interior wood furring and paneling reclaimed from deconstructed warehouses to exterior furring, siding, and exterior bridges from cypress salvaged from Hurricane Katrina. Through early sourcing, material options were located, coordinated, and shipped to the site when needed by the contractors, for a savings to the project while diverting materials from the landfill.

The construction waste management plan diverted 95% of the construction waste from landfills to recycling. The school has an ongoing waste-recycling plan, including a plan to compost kitchen waste for use in gardens.


Adaptability to Future Uses


The idea of joint use of facilities comes naturally for this close-knit community. In the spirit of community outreach, the school includes a distance-learning center, main and auxiliary gymnasiums, and a cafeteria and kitchen open to the public for after-hours events, conferences and games. Community spaces have multiple configurations to support multiple uses.

In the same way that the school opens its doors to community activity, the community welcomes students to make use of their facilities for arts and theater, which means the facility will not be outdated as needs change.

Kiowa-County-Schools_Assassi_06The gymnasium features a sawtooth roof with clerestories that allow the space to be primarily daylit.
Photograph ©Farshid Assassi

On the larger site, the decision to share outdoor recreational facilities with the City of Greensburg eases long-term maintenance and flexibility. It also creates a stronger series of community spaces by increasing the density of uses within the park and allowing easy pedestrian access from the school, Main Street, and surrounding neighborhoods. This area will encompass recreation opportunities, including a swimming pool, tennis courts, picnic areas, and walking trails.

The school integrates current technology while anticipating future technology. Distance-learning classrooms allow for shared staff with other schools. Laptops and wi-fi eliminate the need for designated technology labs and a media center while reflecting the holistic integration of technology.


Indoor Environment

Since daylighting optimization, ventilation, and indoor air quality have a great impact on student academic performance and the health and comfort of building occupants, these ideas became a central focus of the design. Daylighting and controls, operable windows, maximized views, classroom controls, outdoor classrooms and lunch areas, a courtyard playground, and shared learning spaces are all employed in the creation of a comfortable learning environment with a strong connection to the outdoors.

Expansive windows in the classrooms offer views of the surroundings and can be entirely daylit during schools hours. Exterior sun shading devices reduce glare and heat gain. North-facing clerestories balance the light throughout the room and provide a path for natural ventilation that takes advantage of natural stratification and prevailing southwesterly breezes. Operable windows at the user level employ natural ventilation. Individual user temperature controls and supplemental task lighting are also used in the classrooms.

Kiowa-County-Schools_Assassi_08An overall view of the school and grounds
Photograph ©Farshid Assassi


Project details and Credits :

Location: Greensburg, Kansas
Completed July 2010
Lot size: 21.60 acres (Previously developed land)
Built area: 132,000 ft2 (12,300 m2)
Total project cost (land excluded): $45,200,000


Owner/developer: Darin Headrick, School District Superintendent, Greensburg Schools, USD 422 in Greensburg, Kansas
Architecture: Architect (Project Principal) Casey Cassias, BNIM in Kansas City, Missouri, http://www.bnim.com
Interior designer: Brian McKinney, BNIM
Landscape architect: Jim Schuessler, BNIM
Acoustical Consultant: Brian Kubicki, Acoustical Design Group in Raytown, Missouri
Education Planner: Tammy Magney, ATS&R in Minneapolis, Minnesota  http://www.atsr.com/
Mechanical/ Electrical/ Plumbing engineer: Katrina Gerber, BGR Consulting Engineers in Kansas City, Missouri
Structural engineer: Kelley Gipple, Structural Engineering Associates in Kansas City, Missouri
Contractor: Pat McCown, McCown Gordon in Kansas City, Missouri  http://www.mccowngordon.com

 


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2011 08:52