North Carolina school is a nod to the environment, history

North Carolina school is a nod to the environment, history

Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill, N.C., has become the first elementary school in the state to cinch LEED Platinum certification, according to Moseley Architects.

Moseley Architects and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools surpassed the original goal of LEED Gold and created a school that includes features like pervious pavers and porous playground surfaces, a rooftop garden connected to a science classroom, and a stormwater system that includes an underground rainwater cistern that supplies water to the toilet fixtures and cooling tower.

The building also has tubular skylights and light shelves that maximize daylight in classrooms and reduce the building’s energy needs.

Jim Copeland, managing principal for the project with Moseley Architects, had this to say in a statement: “I am particularly pleased that our team was able to achieve their vision. Northside Elementary is one of only 20 LEED Platinum public schools in the entire country and one of only four elementary schools.”

In addition its earth-friendly features, the school also pays homage to the site’s important past. The new school stands at the site of the African-American Orange County Training School, which opened as a Rosenwald school in the 1920s. The cornerstone from that earlier building was is on display at the school, along with a timeline showing the site’s evolution over time.  

Interior and exterior signage was also incorporated throughout the campus to educate students, staff and the community on the various design features. The signs direct the reader to the school’s Building Dashboard for more information about the sustainable features. Teachers also collaborate to integrate these features into the lesson plans and project-based learning efforts. 

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