The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

June 15, 2009

School Building Authority pushes green buildings

Students in West Virginia’s future public schools may not just learn about energy efficiency, but they may learn inside an energy-efficient building.

Dr. Mark A. Manchin, executive director of the state School Building Authority, said the authority aims to build at least one new school every year that is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver-certified. LEED basically provides standards for environmentally sustainable construction, and this certification has four levels. Silver is its second-highest.

Already, one LEED Silver-certified school is under construction in Berkeley County, Manchin said after the SBA met at Raleigh County’s Shady Spring Middle School Monday. Another LEED Silver school project will be named sometime this year. No LEED Silver schools are planned for Raleigh County yet, but he noted both federal and state governments encourage energy-efficient school construction. Construction costs, though, are higher.

“Certainly, if Raleigh County would like to submit a LEED Silver plan, we would be glad to look at it,” he noted.

Manchin said the SBA came to Raleigh County Monday because it routinely meets at schools with SBA-funded projects. Shady Middle is undergoing renovation near its front entrance, and at least one yet-to-be determined Raleigh County school will receive a new roof. He also noted HVAC work at Woodrow Wilson High School’s gym.

Education officials from other counties in the RESA I zone, like Wyoming County, attended the meeting as well. Manchin noted the SBA appropriated about $22 million for a new high school in Fayette County during its April meeting. Voters must approve a bond levy this fall before a new building is constructed.

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