More than 100 visitors attended the public grand opening of Renton School District’s newest school, the Secondary Learning Center. The school opened this fall to nearly 300 middle and high school students. The school will eventually house more than 400 students.
The school, located at 7800 South 132nd Street, Seattle, provides students with basic education skills in mathematics, science, reading and writing as well as career and life skills such as culinary arts, pre-engineering, computer programming and network systems certification, and more.
The school was built thanks to overwhelming voter support for a bond measure in 2008 which included constructing a new wing at Hazen High School with 12 new classrooms, an Early Childhood Learning Center which is currently in construction, and many other improvements at schools throughout the district.
‘GREEN’ ELEMENTS OF SECONDARY LEARNING CENTER
The school, designed by NAC Architecture, is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient. School and district staff worked in close cooperation with the design team, architects and engineers to ensure the design of the building met the needs of students. The many energy-saving elements could reduce the cost of operating the school by as much as $35,000 per year. Some of the energy- and cost-saving features, believed to be unique to the school, include:
- The roof will funnel rain water into an underground reservoir which is then used to flush toilets.
- Sensors detect when there is ample sunlight in the room and then will dim the lighting proportionally.
- A ‘Natural Resource Management’ monitoring system with lighting indicators—which works like a thermometer—to provide real-time feedback to students and staff on energy usage. They can see how efficient they are being with energy and water use and then make adjustments as needed.
- Solar Thermal Collectors located on the roof gather energy from sunlight to heat water used throughout the building
- Strategic arrangements of windows, sun shades and light shelves to provide natural daylight to interior spaces
OTHER GREEN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SCHOOL
- Conserves energy and natural resources
- Saves taxpayer money
- Improves indoor air quality
- Employs daylighting strategies for classroom and common areas
- Improves environmental literacy in students
- Decreases the burden on municipal water and wastewater treatment
- Conserves water and helps manage storm water runoff
*Editor's Note: Information provided by the Renton School District.