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Perkins+Will Unveils Design of Georgia's First LEED-Silver Public High School

Perkins+Will, the world's leading sustainable architecture firm, designed Arabia Mountain High School in DeKalb County to be Georgia's first LEED-Silver public high school and what could be the prototypical public school of the future.

"The DeKalb County School Board took the lead to ensure that students will be in a sustainable learning environment that improves their opportunities for success," said Barbara Crum, Perkins+Will's principal K-12 architect in Atlanta, at today's groundbreaking ceremonies. Turner Construction is the firm's design/build partner.

"There's no doubt that America is moving toward increased sustainability in all things, including its schools. That's why we've received so much recognition for our designs of such schools in South Carolina, Illinois, Texas, and now Georgia," said Crum.

Located in the environmentally important Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, the DeKalb County high school also features small learning communities - another Perkins+Will signature design element - that foster improved grades, graduation rates and mentoring opportunities.

Sustainable features of the school include:
  • Bioswales with natural plantings to filter water runoff before it enters local streams;
  • Reduced water use with low-flow plumbing fixtures, waterless urinals, sink sensors;
  • North-South positioning to reduce energy use;
  • Construction materials that are 10 percent to 20 percent recycled;
  • Exclusion of materials that emit noxious, harmful odors;
  • Individually controlled HVAC to reduce energy waste in unoccupied areas.
Another Perkins+Will design signature, increased natural daylight in classrooms, will boost energy efficiency while improving students' attention and positively impacting their grades. The 240,000-square-foot facility, with 42 classrooms, 10 science labs, a 600-seat auditorium and 1,400-seat gymnasium, also includes:
  • Bicycle and walking paths;
  • Walls of glass providing views of Arabia Mountain;
  • Frontal views over athletic fields and the woods and mountain beyond;
  • Tree-save areas, including some preservation of old-growth specimens;
  • Georgia's first hands-on environmental curriculum.
The two percent in additional construction costs contributed by these features will be offset by operational savings of 20 percent annually over a five-year period, according to Crum.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy Efficient Design as designated by the United States Green Building Council.

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