April 22, 2013
Wilson High School Named U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School
Awarded for being good stewards of the environment
Wilson High School in Ward 3 was named a 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School today by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Only 63 other schools across the country received the distinction. Schools named today were chosen for their efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. Last year, Stoddert Elementary School received the Green Ribbon School designation.
“I’m so proud that another District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) received this prestigious, environmentally-conscious recognition,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “Being good environmental stewards and being green is an integral part of being a Wilson Tiger.”
“Today’s honorees are modeling a comprehensive approach to being green,” said Secretary Duncan. “They are demonstrating ways schools can simultaneously cut costs; improve health, performance and equity; and provide an education geared toward the jobs of the future. In fact, the selected districts are saving millions of dollars as a result of their greening efforts. And the great thing is that the resources these honorees are using are available for free to all schools."
"I believe that teaching our scholars about sustainability of our resources on a school campus is a responsibility of our community,” said Wilson Principal Pete Cahall. “We need to practice what we preach and at Wilson we strive to be stewards of our one and only environment and teach and model behaviors that demonstrate members of our school community being green-friendly."
"The federal Green Ribbon School's Award is a great recognition for our entire community! Wilson's recent campus modernization earned Gold LEED certification and together these honors compel us to practice what we preach about being good stewards of the environment,” said Wilson Principal Pete Cahall. “I believe that teaching our scholars about sustainability of our resources on a school campus is a responsibility of our community. We need to practice what we preach and at Wilson we strive to be stewards of our one and only environment and teach and model behaviors that demonstrate members of our school community being ‘green-friendly’.”
Wilson High School features two green roofs and 30,000-gallon storm water tanks. A 75-year-old coal- and oil-burning three-story power plant was converted into a highly efficient smaller-scale natural-gas power system that saved so much space that the school was able to convert one story into a state of the art fitness center, now called “The Power House.” Among the many green elements and achievements at Wilson is a 74 percent reduction in water use with the redesign.
The most dramatic transformative feature of the modernized campus is the atrium of the core academic building. The original building had an 11,000-square-foot open-air doughnut hole in the middle that was dead space. It’s only purpose was to provide air circulation from the sweltering climate between May and September. A spectacular customized concave glass roof was installed, creating the Atrium, which has become the centerpiece of the school and a beautiful event space. In keeping with LEED criteria, The Atrium is bathed in natural light, and has fantastic acoustical treatments and a sophisticated directional sound system.
The modernized school is used as a teaching tool for students and the community at large. All science teachers incorporate the building into lessons. Wilson students have been trained in all the LEED elements of their new campus, and they have hosted over 3,200 local residents, students, and families on green tours that highlight how much of the spirit and structure of the old campus has been preserved in the modernized facility, like the original terrazzo floors that have been matched by modern artisans, who created the same flooring in most of the 70,000 square feet of new space.
DCPS has 8 other LEED certified schools including School Without Walls High School, Phelps High School, Savoy Elementary School, Stoddert Elementary School, Eastern High School, H.D. Cooke Elementary School, Walker Jones Education Campus and Takoma Education Campus.