Spring Mills Primary expected to strike 'gold' with 'green' qualities

January 02, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Work continues on the partially constructed Spring Mills High School, part of the Berkeley County Schools system. The school is off W.Va. 901 in northern Berkeley County, W.Va., and is on track to open in August 2013.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny P. Arvon II said he is “very confident” that Spring Mills Primary School, the county’s first “green” school, will strike “gold,” at least for environmental and energy efficiency standards.

The school building, when advertised for construction, was assured of receiving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at the silver level through the U.S. Green Building Council’s program, Arvon said.

“We shot our mark high and it was an upper level of silver with the possibility of gold,” Arvon said. “We feel that we’re there; we just have to wait and see if they accept all of our points,” Arvon said.

The Green Building Council’s LEED rating system for schools considers issues such as classroom acoustics, daylight and views, mold prevention and environmental site assessment.

Arvon said the school’s certification will be determined after the building has been open for one year.

The school opened in August.

“It’s all paper-driven,” Arvon said of the certification process.

Arvon said the school district had “electives” to choose from when designing the building and decided to invest “heavily” in reducing food waste in the cafeteria, but is waiting to see whether that decision will be credited in the LEED certification process.

While school officials decided not to pursue LEED certification for the new Spring Mills High School now under construction, Arvon said certain features in the primary school are being incorporated. The county’s fourth high school is on track to be open in August 2013, officials said last week.

Arvon said “LEED-quality” products including lighting, and the high school’s heating and cooling system, are a hybrid model that would have qualified for the primary school, had the geothermal system not been possible.

Much of the high school’s flooring will be terrazzo tile, which Arvon conceded is not recyclable, but still is a “one-time floor” that won’t have to be replaced.

The high school’s interior walls will be masonry block, rather than the primary school’s drywall-style construction, which features Styrofoam-insulated concrete, Arvon said.

Among other school construction projects, school officials hope to break ground next summer for the construction of a new middle school in southern Berkeley County near Gerrardstown, W.Va.

The new school is expected to help ease enrollment at Musselman Middle School, which has the highest enrollment of any middle school in the state, with nearly 1,200 students, according to Arvon.

The new middle school off W.Va. 51 (Gerrardstown Road) will be built near Mountain Ridge Intermediate School.

Arvon expects the middle school could be built in 14 to 18 months, depending on the weather.

Renovations eyed for Martinsburg North Middle School could be advertised as soon as next fall, Arvon said.

“It’s important that while the climate for construction is positive for us as far as bids, that we get into that market, now rather than later,” Arvon said.

A new 20-classroom addition at North Middle School was completed in August, and students are using the new classrooms and the old building.

“A major part of that building (renovation) will be looking at the type of windows and the elimination of some at that school,” Arvon said.

A new heating system also will be a substantial change.

“I’m excited about North because it will be a new school,” Arvon said.

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