The sun was shining on Lake Bluff Elementary School (LBES) as it dedicated its new, environmentally constructed building on October 18 to more than 1200 interested parents and local residents.
Foster Thomas and Theresa Fawcett cut the ribbon to open their new school
Foxy the Mascot welcomed attendees as the Great Lakes Navy Band opened the ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a program that included the winning “What I Like About the New School” essays by LBES students, songs by members of the 5th grade choir, and remarks from those vital to the construction and opening of the new school.
Just five years after a facility study confirmed that Lake Bluff needed a new school building, kindergarten through fifth grade students started the 2009-2010 school year in their new quarters, to the happiness of parents and administrators alike.
“We’re still moving in and figuring out what we need, what works and what doesn’t. It’s like settling into a new home. But we just love it,” says Lake Bluff elementary parent of the new school, MJ Brady.
“It was a long time coming, but the school has exceeded our expectations,” adds Dr. Susan Armbruster, assistant Superintendent and Curriculum Director for District 65.
LBES is on target to receive LEED “Silver” certification within the year. This rating system is part of a suite of standards from the Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for environmentally sustainable construction. The rating system takes into account things like the energy efficiency of the building, the sustainability of the construction as well as the recycling efforts that were utilized during the building period. For example, 95% of the construction waste was recycled in the building of the school.
The young students are very aware of what it means to attend a “green school.” Throughout the open house, fifth grade docents eloquently reviewed the school’s environmental features in a Power Point presentation, complete with music. Features like:
• Most classrooms have southeast and northwest exposures to get to benefit the most from the sun’s heat and light;
• All of the sinks and toilets have sensors;
• The school building’s white roof reflects the sun, lowering air conditioning costs; and the
• Dark sky light fixtures point the light only where it’s needed to reduce the amount of toxins released in the air.
Students are also encouraged to ride their bikes to school to carry the school’s environmental message beyond the classroom.
It’s clear that the school’s instruction is having an impact as two of the docents angled to end their presentation with its powerful close. “We never leave the lights on in the classroom,” says one fifth grader. “Because we are so proud of our school and so proud of our earth,” says another.
Lake Bluff Elementary School is located at 350 West Washington St., Lake Bluff.