Northside Elementary School was one of three development projects honored last week in the Greater Triangle Stewardship Development Awards Program held at American Tobacco Campus in Durham.
The school in Chapel Hill’s Northside neighborhood near downtown won a Gold Stewardship Development Award, the program’s top prize.
Northside Elementary School was originally home to the African-American Orange County Training School, built in 1924, most of which had been abandoned. By redeveloping this site, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, with Timmons Group and Mosely Architects, saw an opportunity to revitalize the neighborhood while avoiding the ecological impacts that come from building on a new site, according to the judges. Careful deconstruction of the existing buildings permitted high rates of material reuse and recycling. The project enhanced a local greenway, a resource conservation area and a community garden.
The project did an outstanding job of protecting water quality through use of porous pavers, porous playgrounds, green roofs, and an underground stormwater detention basin, according to the judges. A 60,000-gallon underground cistern supplies water for toilets and a cooling tower. A second 5,000-gallon cistern irrigates the school garden. The redevelopment project preserved trees and removed invasive species.
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The project recently became the first LEED Platinum elementary school in North Carolina, and is one of only four LEED Platinum elementary schools in the entire country.
The other developments honored were
▪ Saxapahaw Rivermill Project – Upper Mill
This redevelopment project also won a Gold Stewardship Development Award. Rivermill Village, LLC, in conjunction with Clearscapes site and Alphin Design Build, rehabilitated a partially abandoned former textile mill in Saxapahaw. Wooded interior timbers were repurposed from the original mill or locally sourced from timbers from other former mills. The developer provided walking/hiking trails for residents and visitors as well as users of the Mountains to Sea and Haw River Trails. An amphitheater for community gatherings was constructed in the former coal pit.
No new areas were built upon, and a bioretention pond and a series of protective wetlands clean runoff before it reaches the Haw River. Some buildings were re-plumbed so that in the future, gray or recycled water can be used for toilet flushing. Landscaping is irrigated with captured rainwater, and solar energy is used to heat water and the buildings.. Hawbridge School students tend herb gardens that supply on-site businesses. The Upper Mill Project an exceptional example of redevelopment that positively respected its pastoral rural setting, the judges said.
▪ Park West Village, Morrisville
This 100-acre mixed-use development project by Casto Southeast Realty and Withers & Ravenel was awarded a “Stewardship Honorable Mention for Storm Water Management and Reuse of Demolition Materials.” The project helped protect the region’s water quality with a unique wetland for treating stormwater that has more habitat for wildlife than conventional methods.
The Greater Triangle Stewardship Development Awards Program is a partnership established in 2010 among local businesses, academia, state agencies and local governments. An interdisciplinary panel evaluated the projects for achievement in multiple areas of sustainability.