Rainbow Elementary School – LEED Gold
This new 750-student school was designed to reinforce the district’s elementary team teaching program and replace the existing Rainbow Elementary School. The learning lab configuration includes classrooms which are divided into four pods, with integrated special education classrooms. Each learning lab contains projection screens, science casework, and lab tables.
The school also contains state-of-the-art technology, including wireless laptop computers on laptop carts. A video distribution system and LCD receiving/distribution system allows broadcasts to be transmitted and viewed on laptops throughout the entire school. The wireless technology eliminates the need for fixed outlets, input/output devices, and excessive storage areas in classrooms.
At present, the furniture in each pod is grade-level specific. However, all of the rooms contain adjustable markerboards, chalkboards, and casework that can be used by all K–5 grade levels, allowing flexibility for future program changes.
A large cafetorium contains a separate entrance for use by the community. A separate 230-seat gymnasium is also used for secondary basketball and volleyball practice and competition.
The school is designed with an energy-efficient geothermal cooling/ heating system, with a well field located beneath a grass playfield. The HVAC system contains state-of-the-art technology and provides improved indoor air quality. A pitched roof provides attic space to accommodate the mechanical system for the geothermal unit, which would traditionally be located on top of the roof. Furthermore, the roof and overall design concept maintain continuity with the architecture in the adjacent residential neighborhoods.
Two methods have been incorporated into this project to achieve additional state reimbursement from the Department of Education. This is the first project (and only project to date) that received an additional 10% of reimbursement by using a Gilbert Architects’ prototype design approved by the PDE Clearinghouse program. Secondly, this building project received another 10% additional reimbursement from PDE based on the certifications approved by the U.S. Green Building Council with a minimum LEED Silver certification. After final review and approval by USGBC, the project exceeded the minimum requirements by successfully achieving LEED Gold.