In Ohio, billions of dollars have been spent over a decade and a half to address 21st century educational facility needs, and design and construction professionals have risen to the challenge with tremendous success. On December 11, 2013, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) and USGBC celebrated Ohio surpassing 100 LEED certified K-12 facilities. The event was held in the atrium of the Ohio Statehouse, with each of the buildings, representing communities all over the state, having an infographic board on display. These boardsshowcased an extraordinary collection of projects, a tribute to the contributions countless people have made to the massive improvement of our state’s educational infrastructure.
It was great to see so many of the people who support Ohio’s green schools program out in force to celebrate our collective achievement. I have been fortunate enough to meet and work with many of the amazing people who were in attendance today, school administration professionals like Bill Franke (Miami Trace) and Dr. Virginia Rammel (Milton-Union), USGBC Central Ohio supporters Annemarie Smith and Leah Morgan, OFCC officials Lisa Laney and Melanie Drerup, USGBC National representatives Nate Allen and Doug Widener, SHP principals Lauren Della Bella and Tom Fernandez, and a multitude of others working both in the forefront and also behind the scenes, to support the Ohio Green Schools program.
It is a source of personal pride to have contributed in some small way to this massive effort. My firm, SHP Leading Design, was the architectural firm behind 22 of the featured projects, as well as other distinct Ohio LEED schools, such as Pleasant Ridge (the first LEED-certified school in the state, prior to OFCC adoption of LEED standards) and the Wellington School (a private school that did not receive OFCC funding). Our firm also currently has 34 projects in various stages, all in Ohio and all registered under the LEED for Schools rating system. Each project goes through numerous phases, beginning in conception and progressing through the studying, funding, programming, design, and construction until the day we turn the completed facility to the districts to occupy. Through all phases, many people put in a lot of blood, sweat, tears, joy, and love into these projects, and today’s event was a tribute to their hard work and success.