Thursday, May 13, 2010

Salem-Keizer School District Proposes "Green" Building

In today's Statesman Mackenzie Ryan writes about the Salem-Keizer School District's consideration of a LEED-certified school. It would be located on a field whose owners are asking for annexation into the City.

Fortunately, commenters are already on top of one of the missing pieces: Transportation and location.

One person writes that
The benefits to society by having a green building will be lost unless they build the campus in a location and in a manner that eliminates cars and traffic congestion. The greenest schools are those where the kids walk to school.
Another person writes
Having seen how many parents line up to drop kids off for school every day and how few students I see walking to school, I wonder how much of a problem the lack of sidewalks would actually be. My street is near several schools and only part of it has sidewalks and that does not seem to be a problem.
Another person asks about renting an existing building since reuse is generally better than new construction, no matter how green.

The proposed site is on the very edge of the urban growth boundary and is poorly served by sidewalks, bike lanes, and low-traffic roads comfortable for walking and biking. Public Works' comments on the proposed annexation say that "at the time of development, street improvements may be required," but on the surface there doesn't appear to be strategic thinking about how to get kids safely to and from the site.

As Walker has pointed out over at LoveSalem, LEED covers construction, but not on-going operations. This kind of Green is a nice start, but it's only part of the sustainability equation. Moreover, as the First Lady points out, active transportation should be a part of livable and healthy communities. Green thinking and healthy thinking together point in the same directions!

1 comment:

Walker said...

The worst part is that the SK schools don't see themselves as having any part to play in how the community evolves over time in the face of the climate crisis and the end of cheap energy. If this thing gets a LEED certification in its present location then the entire LEED thing is completely discredited. I've been on the fence about LEED but seeing this thing get a LEED award would push me firmly into agreement with those that say that LEED is nothing but a way to put a green tinge over the same-old carburban nightmare that has brought us the most obese population in history.