Elementary school receives state's first LEED certification

Wasilla school's features include storm water management and more than 30 percent recycled content in building materials

Posted: Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A new $13 million elementary school in Wasilla, named for renown Alaska painter Fred Machetanz and his wife, Sara, has become the first school in the state to be LEED certified.

Fred and Sara Machetanz Elementary School, designed by McCool Carlson Green Architects, of Anchorage, received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in mid-December from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Michael Carlson served as McCool Carlson's designer and John Weir as project architect, with Jason Gamache as the project's sustainability coordinator.

Collins Construction of Wasilla served as the general contractor for the school, which opened in the fall of 2009.

All classrooms in the school, which is located in a reclaimed gravel pit, face south, and low winter sun angles are harnessed to bring sunlight into most learning spaces, even those on the north side of the school, officials said.

The school's sustainability features include reclamation of pre-developed land, management of storm water, and use of more than 30 percent recycled content in building materials, including 10 percent of building materials manufactured locally.

The indoor environmental quality of the school includes enhanced acoustics, better controllability of lightning and thermal comfort for occupants, enhanced day lighting and biophilia (connection to the outdoors).

LEED is a third-party certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, which is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

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