The Reynoldsburg school district celebrated earning LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for two new buildings last week by hosting the United States Green Building Council's first Ohio "Green Schools Rally."

The Reynoldsburg school district celebrated earning LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for two new buildings last week by hosting the United States Green Building Council's first Ohio "Green Schools Rally."

The Feb. 22 event took place at the new schools on Summit Road with approximately 100 people in attendance.

"This event is the 'coming out party' for the 'green' schools movement in Ohio," said David Scott, vice-chair of the local USGBC chapter.

The purpose of the event was to recognize schools that have achieved LEED certification.

LEED is an internationally recognized "green" building certification system providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving energy savings, water efficiency and indoor environmental quality, reducing CO2 emissions and improving stewardship of resources.

"The new high school in Reynoldsburg is one of the exemplary 'green' schools and Ohio right now is the national leader in the green schools movement," Scott said. "We have more LEED-certified and registered schools than any other state in the entire country there are over 300 certified in Ohio right now."

Assistant Superintendent Dan Hoffman said the rally in Reynoldsburg recognized the leadership of business manager Ron Strussion and the architects and construction crews responsible for the buildings.

"They consciously built 'green' from the beginning, so the attraction here today is 'green' schools, which leads to 'green' teaching, which is the result of 'green' leadership," Hoffman said. "It's a nice message to this community and to Ohio. They consider (this) the lead state and if you ask who is the lead community, it's probably going to be Reynoldsburg."

Construction of a new high school and new elementary school on Summit Road was completed on time and under budget late last summer as part of a $60-million project.

The two new schools sit on 68 acres on the east side of Summit Road.

A wetlands area was developed at the northeast edge of the area.

Moody Nolan Inc. designed the two state-of-the-art buildings with construction handled by Smoot Elford McDaniels.

The 209,000-square-foot high school accommodates about 1,050 students and houses the district's Art, Communication and Design Academy and its Environmental Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academy.

The 55,130-square-foot elementary school accommodates about 450 students and is the district's school of choice, or K-4 STEM school.

Both new buildings feature many unique qualities not found in many schools in the area, Scott said.

For example, he said, a bus route between the two schools loops around a field containing almost 500 geothermal underground wells that are 300 feet deep and designed to regulate water temperature throughout each building.

"The buildings use less energy so they cost less to operate. That's one feature," Scott said. "They've also got special stormwater management as opposed to shooting water off impermeable surfaces.

"They've got bioswales and a 'green' roof and filtration system to get some of that junk out of the water, and special day-lighting which also not only helps decrease the energy consumption but also helps increase students' productivity, as studies have shown," he added.

In addition, instead of using long, thin corridors, classrooms are built around larger open spaces that can be used as extended learning areas, he said.

Those who attended the Green Schools Rally included parents and construction industry representatives who wanted to learn more about the schools.

Each attendee paid up to $35 to participate in the event, which lasted from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. and included exclusive tours of each building and special sessions with industry professionals explaining the buildings' unique features.