J.M. Wright Technical H.S. Achieves LEED Silver Certification From USGBC
J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford, Connecticut is the first technical high school in Conn. to achieve LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
USGBC LEED certification recognizes achievement in green buildings that are designed to save money, conserve energy, reduce water consumption, and improve indoor air quality. Critical participants in the LEED certification process for J.M. Wright Technical High School include the State of Connecticut, Northeast Collaborative Architects (NCA), Stonehouse Group, KBE Building Corporation, CHA Companies, Richter & Cegan, and BVH Integrated Services.
“The Connecticut Technical High School System prides itself on continuously looking for unique and meaningful ways to lead – as evidenced in our E-House initiative, the nation’s first green construction learning laboratories for CTE high school students,” says Dr. Nivea L. Torres, Superintendent of Schools, CTHSS. “J.M. Wright’s recognition as the first technical high school in the state to receive LEED Silver Certification reinforces it as a top contender when considering educational options in the Stamford region and adds another feather in the CTHSS sustainability cap,” she concludes.
NCA Principal John D. Scheib Jr., AIA, LEED AP BD+C says, “J.M. Wright High School ranks among only a handful of technical high schools in the Northeast to achieve Silver Certification from the U.S.G.B.C. With the school’s proximity to the Mill River Walk system, this LEED Certification is evidence that the school is a strong participant in a greener and more sustainable future for the City of Stamford.”
In 2009, budgetary woes and declining enrollment worked in tandem to close J.M. Wright Technical High School. To create a new rigorous learning environment that combines academics and trade programs, NCA worked closely with the Connecticut Technical High School System. The dynamic curriculum prepares students for post–secondary education and in-demand career paths.
Renovations to J.M. Wright High School, originally designed by Francis L. S. Mayers in the 1950s, provide the once shuttered school and adjoining Scalzi Park with a dramatic rebirth. When the doors reopened in 2014, 150 freshmen engaged in a variety of programs such as automotive technologies, culinary arts, digital media, health technology, hospitality/tourism, and facilities management. The facilities management program is the first–of–its–kind in the nation at the high school level. Other programs, like hospitality/tourism, digital media, and carpentry establish new standards that are being emulated statewide.
The $90 million project transformed the existing building into a 200,000 square foot facility for modern technical and vocational education. A priority was placed on delivering this project in half the time of any other technical high school project. Design and construction schedules were accelerated, requiring significant coordination and integration among the State of Connecticut, NCA, and KBE Building Corporation.
The school’s new design is distinguished by a main street concept, where the existing building is anchored by new multi-level entry volumes. Clad in metal panels with vertical window bays, these new entry volumes emulate a modern corporate working environment. The school will eventually accommodate 700 students.
Several sustainable design elements helped J.M. Wright Technical High School achieve LEED Silver Certification. The greatest challenge addressed was to balance optimal outside air ventilation with efficient overall heating and cooling systems. Reusing the existing building and reducing impervious paved surfaces earned exemplary performance credits. Translucent glazing systems were installed to improve light quality and minimize dependency on artificial lighting. The courtyard is irrigated with rainwater harvested from selected roofs.
About The Connecticut Technical High School System
The Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) currently operates 17 diploma-granting technical high schools, one technical education center and two aviation maintenance programs located throughout the state. The system serves approximately 11,200 full-time high school and adult day students, with comprehensive education and training in 31 occupational areas and 2,000 apprenticeship students. CTHSS is the largest high school system in Connecticut, serving all geographic regions and all demographic and diverse populations. For more information, visit cttech.org, follow on Twitter @CTTechHS and Facebook at Connecticut Technical High School System.