Constructed with funds from the 2008 voter-approved capital projects bond, schools and facilities such as the Machias Elementary, Riverview Elementary, Valley View Middle School, Snohomish High School and the Snohomish Aquatic Center were built to help inspire new relationships between man and nature. Rain gardens, natural daylighting, natural ventilation and low-maintenance materials that would last will into the future were the starting points for many of these projects. Some of the sustainable features that were incorporated into these facilities included:
- Materials - The brick from the old buildings was crushed and used to help create the foundations of the new facilities. Original glu-lam wood beams were incorporated into the construction. The building exteriors were sided with cement-like materials or brick designed to reduce long-term maintenance.
- Energy generation – Solar panels on building roofs generate electricity.
- Heat source – Ground-source geothermal wells are the source of heating and air-conditioning. No fossil fuels are used, meaning no gas or propane bills for the district.
- Daylight – Classrooms have large windows and skylights to make optimal used of daylighting, which studies have shown to improve academics. Photo-sensors on the lights reduce the use of electric light in the schools.
- Water conservation – Plumbing fixtures are low-flow to reduce the use of water and waste. Drought tolerating native plantings were selected to reduce the need for extensive irrigation.
- Efficiency – The envelopes of the buildings are super-insulated, and the windows are triple-pane glass to maximize energy efficiency.
“We were thoughtful in wanting to build quality buildings that would enhance student learning, increase long-term sustainability and reduce operational costs,” said Jay Hagen, President of the Snohomish School District Board of Directors. “Our students, staff and community are reaping the benefits from better indoor and outdoor spaces.”