Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Northside Elementary Wins Gold Stewardship Development Award

In the fifth annual awards cycle for the Greater Triangle Stewardship Development Awards Program (GTSDA), three local land development projects received awards.  An awards ceremony was held at the Power Plant at the American Tobacco Campus on April 29.

Developer Roger Perry of East-West Partners provided by brief keynote address, followed by presentation of awards to recipients by local Meteorologist Chris Hohmann of WTVD ABC11.  

Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill was one of three innovative winning projects (the others were Park West Village in Cary and the Saxapahaw Rivermill Project). This redevelopment project was awarded a Gold Stewardship Development Award, the program’s highest-level award. Northside Elementary School was originally home to the African-American Orange County Training School, built in 1924, most of which had been abandoned. By redeveloping this site, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, with Timmons Group and Mosely Architects, realized a great opportunity to revitalize the Northside neighborhood while avoiding the ecological impacts that come from building on a new site. Careful deconstruction of the existing buildings permitted high rates of material reuse and recycling. The project enhanced a local greenway, a resource conservation area, and a community garden.

The project did an outstanding job of protecting water quality through use of porous pavers, porous playgrounds, green roofs, and an underground stormwater detention basin. A 60,000-gallon underground cistern supplies provides water for toilet fixtures and a cooling tower. A second 5,000-gallon cistern irrigates the school garden. The redevelopment project preserved trees and removed invasive species. The project recently became the first LEED Platinum elementary school in North Carolina, and is one of only four LEED Platinum elementary schools in the entire country.

An interdisciplinary expert panel of judges evaluated the projects for achievement in multiple areas of sustainability:

  1. Natural Resource Assessment
  2. Water Quality Protection
  3. Wildlife Habitat Protection
  4. Vegetation Protection and Enhancement
  5. Green Building
  6. Integration with the Community
  7. Long-Term Management and Maintenance
  8. Community Outreach and Education
Modeled after a sister program in the Coastal NC area, the Greater Triangle Stewardship Development Awards Program is a partnership established in 2010 among local businesses, academia, state agencies and local governments. The program incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2014. Applications for recognition in the 2016 cycle will be solicited in fall 2015.

-Submitted by the CHCCS Office of Community Relations