Council Rock’s lessons in sustainability

Melissa Yerkov, the Wire

MELISSA YERKOV / WIRE PHOTOS Council Rock School District was awarded $4 million in alternative and clean energy grants, which will be used to replace Newtown Middle School (above) and renovate Holland Middle School (below).

MELISSA YERKOV / WIRE PHOTOS Council Rock School District was awarded $4 million in alternative and clean energy grants, which will be used to replace Newtown Middle School (above) and renovate Holland Middle School.

Council Rock School District was awarded $4 million in alternative and clean energy grants, state Rep. Steve Santarsiero announced earlier this month. The Commonwealth Financing Authority grants will financially assist two local schools — one will be used to replace Newtown Middle School and a second that will renovate Holland Middle School.

Newtown Middle School’s new building — a 176,000-square-foot, energy-efficient facility — will be built on the same campus as the current school on Richboro Road, according to Santarsiero. The state-of-the-art facility will use geothermal energy, solar panels and energy-efficient lighting, among other upgrades toward sustainability. The school will be Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-certified, an accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council.

In addition, Holland Middle School in Northampton Township will undergo renovations, including energy-efficient lighting, automated energy control systems and low-flow water-saving fixtures, among other amenities. The low-flow water equipment is projected to save approximately 30 percent of the annual water usage within the building.

“I believe it helps amplify the message that it’s important to be good stewards of the environment, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because there is money to be saved and redirected to educational programming,” said Council Rock School Board president Andy Block.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection named Council Rock School District a Green Ribbon School, honoring the district’s efforts in energy efficiency, impact on performance of students and sustainability education.

In other Council Rock School District news, the Board of School Directors has recently reported that its search for the next superintendent is progressing. Last week, Dr. Robert Fraser toured the schools and met with parents, teachers and administration.

“I very much enjoyed my time in the district on Tuesday,” said Fraser. “The excellence of Council Rock was on display through every individual I met.”

Fraser earned his superintendent’s letter of eligibility from the University of Pennsylvania and a mid-career doctorate in educational leadership. He is currently an assistant superintendent at the West Chester Area School District in Chester County, a position he has held since August 2013. Previously, he was the director of curriculum and instruction at West Chester Area School District.

The Council Rock Board of School Directors scheduled a public meeting at Council Rock High School to give community members an opportunity to meet with Fraser on March 24. This event took place after the Midweek Wire went to press.

Current Superintendent Mark Klein has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2015 academic year. Klein has served as the district’s superintendent since 2004. The Board of School Directors plans to select a new superintendent by July 1.

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