Thanks to Local Law 86, all of New York City’s civic buildings must be built to sustainable standards, but the School Construction Authority (SCA) was well ahead of the green game by the time that law was enacted in 2005. They had already been using efficient heating and cooling systems, light sensors, recycled materials, and more. The SCA has built more green buildings in the city than any other group, but they may have outdone themselves with their latest plans: P.S. 62, a net zero energy elementary school on Staten Island. The city tapped SOM to design the 70,000 square foot building, which is set to open in September 2015.
The 444-seat school will be located in the Rossville section of Southern Staten Island, and it will house kindergarten through fifth grade. It will be a two-story building with a library, a cafeteria, a gymnasium that doubles as an auditorium, and music, science, and art suites. Not many green details about the project are currently known, except that it will produce as much energy as it uses, and it will serve as a lab to learn about sustainability and energy efficiency.
Roger Duffy, director of the project and leader of SOM’s Education Lab, said that P.S. 62 is “an extraordinary opportunity to help define a new paradigm for school buildings for New York City and beyond.” SOM’s Education Lab has built several other green schools in New York City and throughout the Northeast. In their request for proposals, the SCA said they wanted to “challenge [themselves] to go beyond building code and design standards to realize innovative energy and carbon reductions exceeding [their] current achievements.”
The 3.5 acre area where the school will be built is currently an unmolested plot of land covered in trees, and locals are lamenting the loss of the wooded area, as well as the changes the school will bring to the community. They’re concerned about traffic congestion on the neighborhood’s narrow roads, parking for teachers and staff, and child safety issues since the area currently has no sidewalks. The Department of Education has controlled the piece of land since 1942, but up until now they’ve had no need to develop it.
Despite the concerns and lack of details, it’s still exciting to know that New York’s DOE wants our children to learn about sustainability at a young age.
Images © Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill LLP