The one-story, 108,000-sq-ft structure will be wrapped in an envelope of 8-ft x 16-ft energy-efficient structural insulated plywood and foam panels affixed to a skeletal structure of steel and glue-laminated beams.

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“Our goal is to make the building process easier and quicker,” says Mitch Kent, project manager with Mahlum Architects, which is working with Arup Engineers on the sustainability features that will be incorporated in the school. Arup is the mechanical and electrical engineer on the project.

The $36-million project is expected to be complete in time for the arrival of 750 students for fall 2011.

Sustainable features include high performance glazing, natural ventilation, dual flush toilets, native landscaping, rainwater catchments and retro-plated concrete floors. The design includes an initial instillation of solar panels.

Interest in building a sustainable building was heightened by the presence of the Environmental and Adventure School, a district-wide program that’s housed in Finn Hill. The EAS curriculum for an expected 150 students integrates interdependent relationships, people and environments.

The single-story design includes five learning clusters wrapped around a central courtyard.

da Vinci Arts Middle School

The Evans-Harvard High Performance Classroom at the da Vinci Arts Middle School in Portland was recently awarded LEED platinum certification. The 1,500-sq-ft building was completed in 2009 by Portland-based Todd Hess Building Co. for approximately $500,000.

Kent Duffy, FAIA, principal with design firm SRG Partnership of Portland, says the building has no active cooling system. Instead, it is passively cooled using night flush cycle, thermal mass and ceiling fans. Additionally, daylighting eliminates 95% of the need for artificial light.

“There is online real time monitoring of actual energy performance by day, week or month,” Duffy adds. “It is currently being monitored to verify that it will be a net-zero energy building.”

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