On April 23, 2012, Hampton Bays Middle School was named a top green school by the U.S. Department of Education when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to announce the inaugural list of 78 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.
Launched in the fall of 2011, the Green Ribbon Schools program was created by the ED, the EPA and the White House to acknowledge the work of schools in reaching high levels of achievement in environmental impact and energy efficiency, healthy school environment and environmental literacy. It is the first comprehensive green schools program by the federal government.
The $42-million, 146,400 square-foot Hampton Bays Middle School, designed by Patchogue-based BBS Architects & Engineers, was one of only three schools nominated for the prestigious award by New York State Commissioner of Education John B. King from nearly 30 submissions statewide (schools must be nominated by their state chief education officer and cannot apply directly to the ED).
“We are very proud of the White House, EPA and the U.S. Department of Education’s recognition of our project as one of the leading green schools in the nation,” Roger Smith, BBS president and principal architect, said. “The innovative, healthy and environmentally responsible Hampton Bays Middle School is the result of a very close collaboration among the local community, parents, Hampton Bays Union Free School District and the design team. It was the Long Island community’s commitment to sustainable development that resulted in this remarkable, national accolade for a local Suffolk County school.”
Hampton Bays Middle School also received the LEED NC 2.1 Silver rating, based on 36 awarded LEED points. It was the first public school in New York State to receive any LEED certification. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2000, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a nationally and internationally recognized independent review system that verifies that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies to achieve high performance in several key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
The school is also the first CHPS-certified school in New York State. CHPS, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, is a national organization that promotes the design and operation of healthy and resource-efficient educational facilities.
"I applaud Hampton Bays Middle School for earning national recognition as a leader in environmental education and energy conservation; the community should be very proud," said Congressman Tim Bishop when he announced the school’s recognition by the U.S. -Department of Education on April 23, 2012. "This outstanding institution is a model for schools around the country in terms of educating students about the importance of sustainability and putting those lessons into practice every day."
The Green Ribbon Schools program is part of a larger ED effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices proven to result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide aim to increase energy independence and economic security.
ED officials believe that healthy behaviors, environmental education and green facilities are just as important to individual students as they are to the nation. Student and staff attendance, productivity, achievement and engagement, they say, are all enhanced through high standards of nutrition, fitness and facility conditions.
"These Green Ribbon Schools are giving students and educators what they need to maximize learning and minimize risks like asthma and other respiratory illnesses, ensuring that no child is burdened by pollution in or around their school," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Today's winners are protecting our children's health and opening up environmental education opportunities for students. The EPA is proud to help recognize the Green Ribbon award winners and will continue working to improve the environment of our nation's schools and helping prepare students to succeed in the emerging green economy."
Winners of the Green Ribbon may experience national and local press coverage, re-energized staff and parents, enhanced community support, increased application rates, and new private financial assistance. Winners will be invited to participate in national and local recognition ceremonies.
The U.S. Department of Education's "Green Ribbons" are one-year recognition awards. Learn more about next year’s competition:
SOURCES: U. S. Department of Education, libn.com, timbishop.house.gov, Hamptons.com