New high school aiming for LEED certification at Silver level

USGBC-LEED-logo_rgbOXFORD — The new Oxford High School is on the road to become the first LEED Silver-certified high school in Mississippi.

Oxford school superintendent Brian Harvey said, “The 220,000-square-foot educational facility’s energy-efficient and cutting-edge technologies will aid in continuing to produce academically successful students while also providing the perfect learning environment for our students. With a growing student population, we had to plan to make a positive step forward with an eye toward the future of the Oxford School District.”

School officials say the reduced energy use at the new high school will be equivalent to more than 200 homes annually, equaling more than $6 million in overall savings and avoided costs over the next 15 years. The school’s carbon footprint, or greenhouse gas emissions, will decrease a significant amount as well; the school will decrease a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions that officials say are equal to carbon withdrawn by 537 acres of pine forest annually.

According to Taylor Guild with Eley Guild Hardy Architects, Oxford High School is on track to score very well in the areas of energy and atmosphere, water efficiency and minimum acoustic performance. (Eley Guild Hardy led the design of the new high school with Yates Construction and Johnson Controls collaborating on the building project completion.)

“Energy and atmosphere address the energy performance of the building systems including HVAC systems and lighting efficiency,” said Guild. “Each core learning space, such as classrooms, the media center, gymnasium and cafeteria for example, meet LEED’s requirements for acoustic performance.”

“Our heating and cooling systems conserve energy,” added Harvey. “The new high school was designed and built with the foresight to make it the most technology rich learning environment for our students and environmentally-friendly for our community and school population. That’s what we had in mind all along in the planning process for our new high school.”

The new Oxford High School, which opened its doors to over 1,000 high school students on Jan. 7, also offers cutting-edge technologies such as a safe and secure environment for students, teachers and administrators, offering life safety and security systems such as fire alarms, surveillance cameras, and access control to the campus. An enhanced learning environment can be found in each classroom with the latest in audio-visual equipment, such as the 70-inch LED screens in each classroom and school hallways.

“The lights in each room have sensory detectors on them. When someone walks into a dark classroom the lights turn on, and after a period of time when there is no motion detected, the lights turn off,” said Oxford High School Principal Mike Martin. “This is just one feature that helps the school building save on costs.”

Better communication along with new streaming video, handheld device and wireless capabilities are available throughout the building. Other visible positive points of interest include larger classrooms and hallways, a collaborative learning environment, two-story classroom wings, a new salad bar in the cafeteria, an outdoor amphitheater, and a brand new gymnasium. The campus also features an inviting courtyard for students and staff to enjoy during lunch and breaks between classes.

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