New Albany News

New Albany schools

'Green' education center requires ARB approval


Local students and the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools environmental science program at New Albany High School soon could benefit from a "green" energy education center to be installed on the New Albany-Plain Local School District campus.

"We've received approval for a $50,000 grant from the Easton Foundation for the cost to relocate and reassemble the modular building and connect it to all utilities, most importantly electricity," said Bill Resch, the school district's environmental consultant. "It will be tied to the AEP system and generate 6 kilowatts of energy into the grid. It will produce equal or more energy that it consumes."

But before the building can be reassembled, the school district must obtain approval and waivers from the New Albany Architectural Review Board, which oversees new construction in the village center.

The ARB meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at New Albany Village Hall, 99 W. Main St.

Valued at $300,000, the wooden building was built by Ohio State University students in the College of Engineering and Knowlton School of Architecture. It has solar panels and will operate self-sufficiently, not requiring other power sources. It also has a radiant heating system in the floor and a natural waste-disposal unit.

The building was used at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as part of the polar bear exhibit. It was donated to the New Albany-Plain Local School District in May and moved to storage in New Albany with an $8,000 grant from the New Albany Community Foundation's William H. Resch Sustainable Earth Fund.

Resch said the building will be installed northwest of the high school football stadium and south of the athletics fields near the Plain Township Aquatic Center.

Ken Stark, the school district's operations director, said the building will sit on a concrete pad.

"It will be a nature and (science, technology, engineering and math) curricular learning facility that will enable our students at New Albany schools in grades (kindergarten) to 12 and (students from) Columbus State (Community College) and the Ohio State University to experiment with a real-world renewable energy facility," Resch said.

The project will be presented to the ARB on Nov. 14.

City Planner Stephen Mayer said the project will require several waivers, including those for the screening of mechanical operations, the side property setback and the architectural style.

It may also require the addition of bicycle racks, another requirement of new construction in the village center, Mayer said.

Stark said the school district also is requesting the ARB approve new materials for school signs located throughout the campus. He said the cost of maintaining the signs has become more than it would cost to replace them.

Stark estimated the replacement cost for the signs at $1,000 each. He said different materials that would require less regular maintenance might be used.