Gilbert considers going green for newest high school - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Gilbert considers going green for newest high school

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Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2008 4:18 am | Updated: 11:46 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Gilbert’s fifth high school could come with synthetic grass on the football field, solar panels that operate ceiling fans in the dining pavilion and remote panels that show current energy usage.

Those are just some of the “green” options the Gilbert Unified School District is exploring for its final planned high school as the district enters the bidding phase.

District staff presented several green options to the governing board at Tuesday’s study session.

The green options are in addition to elements already planned to save energy and water.

Groundwork has already started on the 60-acre high school site at Germann Road and Quartz Street between Lindsay Road and Val Vista Drive off the Loop 202 Santan Freeway.

The school is scheduled to open in August 2009.

Board president Helen Hollands said it’s financially beneficial for the district to incorporate green concepts if the district can hold costs down.

The board asked the district to seek alternate bids for several of the green options.

“With the alternate bids we can pick and choose depending on the costs,” Hollands said.

The board and district staff liked the options of using synthetic grass on the football field and installing desert landscaping around the campus.

Both of those options would reduce water usage and maintenance costs.

“I love the look of green and grass, but desert is better,” said Stan Peterson, the district’s director of operations.

Waterless urinals and two-stage flush toilets were not a hit with the board, although Hollands said she wanted the options considered for adult-only bathrooms.

Although the two options would reduce water usage, there would be higher maintenance costs for chemicals.

Extra care and education would also be needed with students.

“Kids don’t flush the toilets as it is,” said board member Elaine Morrison.

“And anything that requires extra maintenance is a loss for me.”

Auto-flush toilets at Mesquite High School had to be removed because maintenance was too difficult and costs were too high to replace damaged units, said Clyde Dangerfield, the district’s assistant superintendent of business services.

“We want to be green friendly, but we also want to be smart,” Dangerfield said.

Green elements already planned for the high school include using nonpotable water for landscape irrigation, putting in low-energy lighting and adding a window in each classroom to give the rooms some natural lighting.

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