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Sustainable Development Strategies

Staley High School

North Kansas City Schools serves more than 18,000 students who live in 12 municipalities across southern Clay County, Missouri. While designing the first new high school in 35 years, the district wanted a facility that was responsive to its environment and the educational needs of the students. Opened in 2008, Staley High School achieved the district’s goals: a sustainable, state-of-the-art 315,000 square foot facility for 1,500 students in grades 9-12.

Entrance to Staley High School The floor plan is composed of three rectangular “wings,” which include classrooms, two competitive gymnasiums, a 750-seat auditorium and a “flex” theater radiating from the centerpiece of the building known as the Great Hall. This daylight-filled area provides circulation space, serves as a lobby for the gymnasium and the auditorium, and has facilities for display of student work. Daylighting is apparent not only in the Great Hall, but throughout the building in the classroom areas. Clerestory windows above the corridors flood the upper level with natural light. Light wells in the second floor allow light to filter to the corridors on the lower level.

Staley High School is the first K-12 educational facility in the state of Missouri to earn LEED® certification. In 2008, it earned LEED Silver, scoring 35 points under the LEED-NC v2.1 rating system. Prior to deciding to pursue LEED certification, North Kansas City Schools committed to high performance mechanical and electrical systems and commissioning. The energy efficient heating, cooling, and ventilation system consists of geoexchange well fields that provide condenser water to high efficiency water source heat pump units. Staley High School was analyzed subject to a whole building energy simulation model, which indicated a 46 percent reduction in energy cost between the as-designed building model and the base building model Staley High School's Great Hall prescribed in ASHRAE 90.1-1999.

During the design process, the team also focused on flexibility of spaces, high indoor environmental quality through equipment design and materials selection, stewardship and protection of the existing streamway on the site, and water efficiency. In keeping with its educational mission, District staff chose to create curriculum based on the school’s green building features and to develop a green building education program. District staff also implemented a green housekeeping program – a first for the District. In addition to many other responsibilities, the construction manager implemented highly successful construction waste management and indoor air quality management plans.

From 2005 – 2008, Earthly Ideas was the sustainability and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consultant for Staley High School. We served as the green building information and education resource to the team during design and construction, coordinated the successful LEED certification process, and worked with the District on the development of the green building education and green cleaning programs and curriculum. The green building education program included a case study in BuildingGreen’s High Performance Buildings Database and a self-guided walking tour available to visitors to the school. In addition, the Central Plains Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council developed a project profile highlighting the school’s achievements.