May 1—MANSFIELD — Pegged to be the first net- zero public school in the state, the new elementary school in Mansfield will feature many creative and artistic elements.

Those include various opportunities for outdoor learning.

The innovative project has inspired other communities in the state to move in a similar direction. ” As an aside, as the result of this project, other communities in Connecticut have become interested in building net- zero energy schools and they have been watching our project with great interest so we anticipate energy efficiency and sustainability benefits that extend beyond our community because of this project,” Mansfield School Building Committee Chairman Randy Walikonis said during a public information session Thursday night.

” Ultimately, though, this new school reflects the values of our community and will be an investment from which our town will benefit for decades to come.”

As a net-zero school, the building is designed to return as much energy to the grid as it uses.

Many energy- efficient features are planned for the building, including a 492- kilowatt photovoltaic array on the roof, reduced air infiltration, exterior lighting motion sensors, Energy Star appliances, geothermal pump water heating, LED lighting and more.

Jeff Brown, an associate at TSKP Studio, the company hired to design the new school, said consultants conducted a series of analyses about daylighting.

” They checked at various stages in the process of designing this building,” he said.

Brown said they wanted to be “very conscious” of where the building is

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As a net-zero school, the Mansfield’s new elementary school is designed to return as much energy to the grid as it uses.

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Details on new school discussed at forum

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oriented and have views out of the classroom, including views toward the forest and the outdoor educational programming.

” Those studies actually helped us in the design, in this case with where to put the horizontal sun shades on the south to make sure we get light drawn deep into the space without a lot of glare,” he said.

The new school, which is expected to open in fall 2022, is being built to address the aging facilities as well as declining enrollment.

The project will consolidate the existing three elementary schools — Dorothy C. Goodwin Elementary School, Annie E. Vinton Elementary School and Southeast Elementary School — into one school for preschool through fourth graders.

It will be located on the site of the current Southeast Elementary School at 134 Warrenville Road.

Recently, the school building committee chose Newfield Construction Group LLC of Hartford to be the general contractor on the project.

Construction is expected to begin later this month or in June.

” It really does take a village for an effort of this magnitude and we hope that everybody feels that you have a sense of shared sense of ownership of this project and what it’s going to mean for our community,” Mansfield Town Manager Ryan Aylesworth said.

He said the goal is to set up a webcam so residents can view the construction.

The $ 50.5 million project was approved by taxpayers during a November 2019 referendum.

As of September, when a state bill was approved that allocated state funding toward the project, Mansfield’s state reimbursement was about 65 percent.

Walikonis said the project is currently on schedule and on budget.

As the owner’s project manager, Colliers Project Leaders oversees the day-today operations of the project.

“We worked very hard to maximize reimbursement, to make sure that the state is chipping in everything they should be and we will continue to monitor that throughout the process,” said Colliers Project Leaders senior project manager Scott Pellman.

The school will feature grades being in ” houses,” with preschool and kindergarten together, as well as separate houses for first, second, third and fourth graders.

Mansfield Superintendent of Schools Kelly Lyman said there was a commitment to maintaining current classsize guidelines, which are smaller than the state’s guidelines, as well as maintaining current programming.

Currently, the district’s guidelines entail there be a maximum of 18 students per classroom for preschool through third grade and 20 students for fourth grade.

“Of course, we wanted to make sure this was a building that felt child- friendly,” she said. “Not only will our students have the opportunity to learn in a bright new building with lots of natural lighting and lots of clean open spaces, but it’s a building that also is future-focused in the design and allows us the flexibility for today and tomorrow.”

Another priority is for there to be outdoor learning spaces, with compost bins, planters and birdhouses all included in the design.

A video of the information session can be viewed online at bit. ly/ 3vwbFtv.

Questions and comments about the project can be emailed to [email protected]

Follow Michelle Warren on Twitter — @mwarrentc.

It really does take a village for an effort of this magnitude and we hope that everybody feels that you have a sense of shared sense of ownership of this project and what it’s going to mean for our community.

Mansfield Town Manager Ryan Aylesworth

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