(SAVANNAH) – Savannah Country Day School dedicates its new Lower School building Oct. 29 at 8:30 a.m. It is expected to be the first LEED-certified elementary school in Chatham County. The building features an expanded media center and a science facility with LED projection telescopes, greenhouse and an animal care facility. LEED highlights include low-water urinals and water heads, as well as carpets, paints and cabinets with reduced volatile organic compounds. The Savannah Country Day School is located at 824 Stillwood Drive, Savannah, Georgia 31419. www.savcds.org
For immediate release:
First green elementary school in Chatham County
to be dedicated Oct. 29
Savannah Country Day School’s new Lower School building features science facility with LED projection telescopes, greenhouse and animal care facility
(SAVANNAH) – Savannah Country Day School dedicates its new Lower School building Oct. 29 at 8:30 a.m. It is expected to be the first LEED-certified elementary school in Chatham County.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is the internationally-recognized standard for high performance, low water and energy use buildings awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. The school is in the final submittal process for LEED certification.
The new Lower School building includes a science facility with LED projection telescopes, greenhouse and an animal care facility. The 52,500-square-foot Lower School building will house grades 1-5.
“This great, new building is a sign of Country Day’s commitment to prepare our students fully for life in the 21st century and to be good stewards in a world where caring for the Earth is going to be very important,” said Savannah Country Day School headmaster Thomas Bonnell.
Facility highlights include:
• Science facility with LED projection telescopes, greenhouse and an animal care facility
• Expanded media center
• Classrooms of over 1,000 ft of space (allowing for flexible teaching methods and smaller, group learning opportunities)
• Classrooms equipped with a height-adjustable SMARTBoard (in order to allow greater student participation). The interactive SMARTBoards have a computer interface for use with computers, DVD or any video component and allow Internet connections.
• In addition to the greenhouse and demonstration gardens, the grounds will have Eastern and Western plantings with identification markers.
LEED highlights of the new Lower School building include:
• Low-water urinals and water heads
• A roof system to catch and store rain in an underground cistern and then water the gardens
• Energy saving windows
• Carpets, paints and cabinets with reduced volatile organic compounds
• Surrounding landscaping and gardens will feature plants and shrubbery requiring minimal water
• Organic dirt used in the vegetable gardens
• Educational signage to denote environmental features of the building
Green buildings offer better indoor air quality, in part because of less “off-gassing” from the reduced volatile organic compounds in paints and carpets. Studies have shown green buildings lead to increased productivity and lower absenteeism.
Savannah businessman John Cay says the new building is an asset to the school.
“It is stunningly beautiful and at long last Country Day School has the sort of physical facility for our Lower School that is consistent with the excellence in education we provide these children,” Cay said.
The animal care facility currently houses rabbits, guinea pigs, hermit crabs and more. An 800-gallon aquacenter has four different aquariums – saltwater, freshwater, brackish and tropical. A butterfly garden is equipped with special cameras to show their different stages. Students have learned to be still and quiet enough to watch the turtles sunning themselves by the pond without scaring them away, Lower School science teacher Bill Eswine said.
The garden with organic soil has four 450-square-foot plots. The students research the origin of the plants, their nutritional value, do soil analyses and create data sheets of plant growth. They donate the crops to organizations such as Second Harvest. Along with all sorts of academic and technical lessons, students learn about ethics and morality, caring and being responsible, Eswine said.
Pictures of indigenous species such as loggerheads and right whales fill the walls of the science classroom. The effect is powerful, Eswine said.
“You’re just in awe,” he said. “It makes you see, this is a bigger thing that I’m a part of. We’re just a part of the whole system.”
The students make podcasts for students at other schools explaining various environmentally responsible features of the building, such as trees positioned to reduce the heat island effect, and permeable surfaces that allow rain to percolate to the ground rather than just become stormwater runoff.
The building’s environmentally friendly features such as non-toxic paint and carpet and counters from recycled material help make the building a great example to the Country Day students, Eswine said.
“It’s a teaching tool in itself,” he said.
Water- and energy-efficient features, such as low-flow plumbing and sensors that turn lights off when no one’s in a room, show students they can make a difference, even at their age.
“That makes a huge statement to them,” Eswine said. “It empowers the students – they know they can make a difference. And a lot of little things add up to something really big.”
The architecture firm is Chapman Coyle Chapman Architects. Founded in 1969 and based in Atlanta, the firm specializes in award- winning campus planning and private education architecture. The design reflects their master plan philosophy for SCDS by creating a “regional” identity for the school reminiscent of historic Savannah and the town plan. It is the second building that CCC has designed for the school following the completion of the new Middle School in 2005.
The building was completed on time and within budget. The contractor is New South Construction Company, which started to work on the project during the early stages of the design phase assisting in decisions impacting cost and the methods of construction. This is the company’s second project with Country Day School, as they also completed the Pape Middle School building. Most of the subcontractors used on the lower school project are from the Savannah market. This has been another great example of a team relationship between SCDS, architect and contractor working together to make the project the best that it can be with an emphasis on quality.
Savannah Country Day School is a Pre-k through twelve independent school that seeks to prepare students of academic and personal promise to meet with confidence, imagination, and integrity the challenges of college and of life. In partnership with supportive families, Country Day strives to cultivate in each student the desire and the discipline to grow wise, to lead lives of personal honor, to appreciate beauty, to pursue physical well being, and to serve others with a generous and compassionate spirit. For more information about Savannah Country Day School, its mission, and its programs, please visit www.savcds.org.
The Savannah Country Day School is located at 824 Stillwood Drive, Savannah, Georgia 31419. For more information log onto www.savcds.org or call (912) 961-8828.
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