Green initiatives appear to be taking root in Smyrna as the Cobb County School District recently announced that the city’s new elementary school will be LEED certified thanks to a new program at Southern Polytechnic State University.
SPSU’s recently launched International Knowledge Resource Center for Green Building partnered with Cobb County School District to defray the cost of LEED certification for the new Smyrna elementary school. Doug Shepherd, Cobb County School’s chief administrator for SPLOST projects, said that the school was originally going to be built to green standards, but not officially certified through the U.S. Green Building Council because of cost.
“I’m really pleased that we can partner with Southern Poly and really advance a goal that we’ve always had, but were cautious about the expense,” he said. “And the fact that we’re working together with college students is just an added plus.”
Instead of hiring an outside consultant to file the paperwork necessary to obtain LEED certification, IKRCGB students will file the paperwork with the supervision of professors. This is a savings of between $20,000 and $30,000 for Cobb County Schools, Shepherd said.
The next public forum for the new elementary school is being planned for October. At this meeting Shepherd and other Cobb County schools representatives will share some of the minor changes they’ve made to the site plans as per citizens' suggestions. One of the changes was for an on-campus community garden.
“There were some comments about reserving some space for a community garden,” he said. “Although, we’re not going to fund installing a community garden, that’s not part of our district-wide specification for elementary schools, we certainly have enough land available so we’ve dedicated some space so if the PTA or local education foundation wants to donate the garden infrastructure, they’re welcome to do take that land that’s been dedicated to that and use it for that purpose.”
The next meeting concerning the redistricting of Smyrna and South Cobb schools is being planned for late-September.