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Construction & Design Green Building

Bronx school goes green on a budget

The Bronx Charter School for Excellence, also known as Bronx 1, has earned a coveted LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Located at 1952-1960 Benedict Avenue in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx, the school serves over 800 students in grades K-8.

CTA Architects led the design team, JLL served as the owner’s representative, and JLL’s Energy & Sustainability Services group was the LEED consultant.

According to CTA principal Craig Tooman, AIA, LEED-AP, “The design of this project to meet LEED criteria was a challenge because the construction budget was relatively modest as the funding was generated through donations.

“However, every step of the project, from preliminary design through construction, was made with the goal of achieving the highest LEED rating possible in mind while meeting budget constraints. We were able to meet the criteria for Silver certification through a collaborative effort with the entire project team, and construction was completed under budget.”

The project consisted of a new, seven-story, 35,000 s/f tower; the renovation of an existing 10,000 s/f, two-story building; a 4,500 s/f, two-story addition to the existing structure; and the build-out of a 4,780 s/f, double-height gymnasium in the basement and ground floor of the tower.

LEED guidelines, established by the U.S. Green Building Council, deliver a comprehensive framework for sustainable building design, construction, operations and performance with the goal of developing healthy, highly efficient, and cost saving buildings.

Certification is achieved through a detailed application process, with an independent third-party reviewer analyzing each project’s information and assigning points in seven distinct categories that rate the project’s compliance with green building criteria.

One of four certification levels, listed in order of increasing value, can be awarded: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

In addition to CTA and JLL, the project team included Collado Engineering as the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineer; Robert Silman Associates Structural Engineers, DPC, as the structural engineer; Hubert H. Hayes, Inc. as the elevator consultant; and Municipal Building Consultants, Inc. as the expediter.

“The important lesson learned from this project is that an efficient sustainable building can be designed within the confines of a limited budget,” adds Hrisa Gatzoulis, LEED AP, WELL AP, JLL Senior Project Manager. “Through inventive, but budget conscience design, the team has delivered a highly sustainable and energy efficient facility where students can excel for years to come.”

JLL also conducted numerous training sessions for the general contractor and subcontractors to ensure that the construction process followed LEED criteria.

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