Construction on the new school building commenced in August of 2012, and continued through the summer of 2013. The building was officially opened during a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on June 10 and attended by over 150 people. During the summer of 2013, the school building will be occupied by LISD science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career exploration camps and teacher professional development programs. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, the building will serve as the instructional home of the LISD TECH Center’s Agri-tech and Ornamental Horticulture programs. An evening natural sciences program offered by the LISD will also be housed at the CSF, as will alternative energy programs offered as part of the LISD’s Stubnitz Environmental Education Program. Jackson Community College has also agreed to offer courses at the CSF.
As a net-zero energy facility, the LISD CSF will use only as much energy as the campus produces. Power for the building is being generated by a 68 kW photovoltaic solar array comprised of both ground and roof mounted arrays. The solar arrays produce electricity which is used to power the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, lights, and to provide power to the numerous electrical outlets located throughout the building.
Heating and cooling in the building is provided by a geothermal system. Maintaining the building’s climate was made much more efficient through the use of enhanced building envelope strategies during the building’s construction. For example, the walls have five inches of extruded polystyrene insulation valuing an R 25, a 150% improvement over code. Wall insulation extends directly to the foundation footers to minimize thermal bridging at the transition between floor slab, wall assembly, and grade.
Lighting the school uses a small amount of energy due to the use of LED lighting and the limited number of light fixtures required as a result of the use of day lighting strategies throughout the building. Building windows bring in natural daylight, but since they are less efficient, they are used primarily to provide views to the outdoors. The building also features solar tubes throughout, which maximize the amount of natural light brought into the building through the use of reflective materials.