State, Local Leaders Highlight Cost Savings, Job Creation Potential, Environmental Benefits of Modern, Green Schools

Local school officials, state, labor and environmental leaders held a press event today at George W. Gibbs, Jr. Elementary School to call for state and federal investments to modernize schools.

December 14, 2011

Event at George W. Gibbs, Jr. Elementary School Will Showcase Benefits of Modernizing Public Schools 

ROCHESTER, MN  (December 14, 2011) — Local school officials, state, labor and environmental leaders held a press event today to call for state and federal investments to modernize schools. They gathered to discuss the cost savings, health and environmental benefits, and job growth potential of modernizing and greening Minnesota’s schools. The U.S. Green Building Council reports that modern, green schools can save $100,000 per year on operating costs — enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks. High performance, green schools also use, on average, 33 percent less energy and 32 percent less water than other schools.

The George W. Gibbs, Jr. Elementary School hosted the press event. The school is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified, a green compliance standard.

“We can modernize our schools and make them greener, helping our students, teachers and support staff, while reducing pollution and waste,” said Tarryl Clark, the National Co-Chair of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Jobs21! campaign. “Investments in green schools will create jobs, both in construction and in other industries that supply the materials for these upgrades.”

“We’re exceptionally proud of this facility that not only is saving taxpayer dollars but also is reducing pollution and energy waste,” said Jim Kelly, Coordinator of Design & Construction Services at Rochester Public Schools ISD 535.

“A green school is good for students, teachers, and support staff,” said Kit Hawkins, President of the Rochester Education Association. “The air is better, and there’s less unnecessary waste in energy and water.”

George W. Gibbs, Jr. Elementary School opened its doors in 2009 and is the newest elementary school in Rochester. It is one of only a few LEED-certified schools in the state.

“Many other schools in our state need to be modernized and made more green, said Russell Hess, Political Coordinator for the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA).  “That’s an opportunity for better schools and for good jobs for thousands of construction workers in our state that have been stuck on the bench waiting to work.”