In what is its third and final phase of an ambitious plan to renovate their district, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) will be putting the final touches on 25 refurbished buildings that the district expects will receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification seal of approval. IPS, encompassing 65 schools and over 34,000 students, began its comprehensive sustainability project in 2001 to update infrastructure and reduce energy costs. The district’s energy efficiency agenda coincides with a similar one from the city of Indianapolis, which learned April 21 that it would receive almost $10 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative for communities pursuing sustainability projects. LEE D certification is provided by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to buildings that are designed as economically and environmentally responsible places to work and learn.
"We wanted to create a building that was a conducive learning environment," says Steve Young, chief of facilities management at IPS. "We have been able to correct that situation without increasing utility costs."
IPS found that its primary investments were in updating the heating and air conditioning, lighting, security technology, and technology in the classroom. Attention was also paid to windows and roofs that were revamped and, in many cases, replaced. Architecture was an important factor as well, as IPS built six new elementary schools that reflect the uniqueness of the communities in which they belong.
The projected cost of all the renovations is estimated at $700 million, paid for by taxpayer-approved bonds. IPS expects the project to be completed by 2012.