Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School, which opened this past August, has been awarded a rating of three Green Globes through the Green Building Initiative’s internationally recognized green rating assessment, guidance and certification program. The school is one of the first educational facilities in South Carolina and the largest new construction project in the state to receive Green Globe certification.
The Green Globe certification process encourages accountability in sustainable design, to conserve energy, reduce water consumption, and promote responsible use of materials. There is a rating scale of one to four Green Globes.
The school’s project architect is McMillan Pazdan Smith. This is their first Green Globe facility and 30th certified sustainable design project. The work was completed in association with Fielding Nair International, Educational Facility Planner + Co-Design Architect.
As the first STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) middle school in the state, the facility is designed to fully integrate with the project-based curriculum by using the facility as a teaching tool, a strategy that contributed significantly to the overall sustainability score. Elements include:
- labeled, color-coded pipes to highlight the flow and consumption of resources,
- exposed beams, x-bracing, and columns to illustrate the school’s physical properties,
- communications and power panels wrapped in glass to highlight their role in the building’s highly technological functions, and
- a bio-retention pond to retain storm water and to remove harmful hydrocarbons, providing an environmental lesson for students.
Fisher Middle School, located in the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), is designed to meet the development’s building covenants. The facility also features high-performance glass paneling throughout the facility, allowing extensive natural light and expansive views for students and faculty. To supplement the natural light, the school district and architect partnered with Hubbell Lighting, whose regional headquarters is directly across the street from the school. Hubbell’s very latest in efficient and responsive LED lighting is used for virtually all exterior and interior lighting.
The energy strategy also includes dedicated outside air systems, a bipolar ionization ventilation system to clean inside air, and variable refrigerant flow technology to efficiently heat and cool the facility. Bicycle storage facilities are in place in anticipation of the future nearby Swamp Rabbit Trail expansion. The building scored significant rating points for extensive use of building materials with high recycled content and materials sourced locally or regionally.
A multi-disciplinary planning team collaborated on the facility’s initial programming and design, evaluating curriculum, long-range planning, technology, and important energy-efficient and environmentally friendly strategies. The team included key school district representatives, the globally recognized educational programming expert Fielding Nair International, and architecture firm McMillan Pazdan Smith.
Greenville County Schools is the state’s largest and nation’s 46th largest school district with 72,000 students.