Sustainable Schools

High Tech Learning and Ecological Design Go Hand in Hand for School Facilities

High Tech learning

High Tech learning

High Tech Learning

High Tech learning 

IMAGES COURTESY OF DMR ARCHITECTS

Education is constantly evolving, and architects play a major role in helping educational clients create facilities that meet a growing need for technologically advanced programs in ecologically sustainable environments. This is particularly true in vocational/technical programs, where sustainability is integrated directly into the curriculum, and is key in preparing students for a variety of post-secondary experiences.

Hasbrouck Heights, NJ-based DMR Architects, with a portfolio of numerous vocational/technical projects, is currently advancing through a design/build contract for the Hudson County Schools of Technology’s High Tech High School, a 340,000-square-foot, three-story facility for grades nine-12 with a wing for each of the school’s four Career Academies, Vocational Training, Architecture & Engineering, Applied Science, and Performing Arts, set to open in the fall of 2018. The building will seek LEED Platinum certification.

The project includes ecological design features that increase the functionality and energy-efficiency of the facility, while supporting the educational curriculums within the school including geothermal heating, rainwater harvesting, solar panels, green roofs and wind generated turbines.

Additionally, the school grounds will feature hydroponic gardens that will be curated by students and faculty in the Applied Science Academy, used in lessons by culinary students in the Vocational Training Academy, and ultimately eaten by all students in the shared cafeteria.

The level of sophistication, specificity of knowledge and integration of sustainable curriculums into high school educational programs has expanded rapidly over the past several years. Our school clients, particularly our vocational school clients, are committed to providing teaching tools that prepare students for sustainable futures. We are excited to be part of the team advancing the High Tech High School project, which will set a standard for sustainable education across the country.

High Tech High School is one of more than 600 preK-12 educational projects that DMR has developed in its 26-year history. Among many architect of record projects, DMR’s current educational roster includes three vocational/technical school systems and several more sustainable projects. The firm designed the first LEED Silver certified public school in New Jersey, the Carlstadt Elementary School, as well as many certified higher educational projects, including West Hall at Middlesex County College, which achieved LEED Gold certification in 2017.

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of School Planning & Management.

About the Author

Pradeep Kapoor, LEED-AP BD+C, is director of Sustainable Design and Partner at DMR Architects, headquartered in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. He can be reached via www.dmrarchitects.com.

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