The new Stephens County High School is officially a LEED certified building.
The school system held a plaque unveiling ceremony for its LEED recognition Tuesday at the high school.
LEED recognition comes from the Georgia Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.
David Freedman is the Executive Director of that organization.
He said the school system deserves recognition for making the choice to build a LEED-certified building.
“The Stephens County School System had a choice,” said Freedman. “You had a choice whether to pursue LEED certification or not. You had a choice to build a regular building or do something special and build a building that is going to be better for the environment, save energy, be better for the students, and that is the choice you made. I commend you for making that decision.”
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a green building rating system.
Freedman said that a LEED building does a lot for the environment.
“In this case, it means you have a building that uses 16 percent less energy than a traditional building, 40 percent less water, which is quite an accomplishment,” said Freedman. “Over 20 percent of the material is recycled content, which meant that saved virgin materials from being used. Over 30 percent of the materials came from regional sources, which means they were extracted, harvested, or manufactured within 500 miles.”
Stephens County Board of Education Chairman Jerry Steele said the high school and LEED certification are things that the school system is very proud of.
“We are proud of Greg (Smith, the architect) for designing it and Bowen and Watson for building it, but we are very proud of the people of Stephens County, who had the foresight to vote when different SPLOST’s came up” said Steele. “This building has been built with that one-penny sales tax.”
The high school is being paid for with funds from E-SPLOST, or Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, proceeds.
Stephens County School Superintendent Sherrie Whiten also said LEED certification is quite an accomplishment, noting that this is the first LEED-certified building in Stephens County.
In addition, Freedman said it is the first LEED-certified high school north of Atlanta.
Bowen and Watson, the contractors who built the school, also announced Tuesday that it had entered Stephens County High School in the “Build Georgia” competition, where the project won first place awards for construction and best sustainable building practice.