Sustainable design guided the new Clearbrook-Gonvick school from the very beginning with the goal being to lower costs and improve the ability to learn. The site selected minimized both transportation and busing. The building is oriented on the site so the massive blank walls of the shop and music wing protect the school from the harsh winds.
There was an even balance between the cut and fill on the site and floor plan is designed to be extremely efficient. Geothermal ground source heat pumps were utilized to provide both heating and cooling. The retention ponds limit the flow of water into the watershed, and also allows for an outdoor learning environment.
The entry, and most of the classrooms, have a southern orientation to capture passive solar gains in the winter. Utility costs for 2005 were $66,000 compared with $155,000 in the old school the previous year. This project was passed after a bond vote.
Doug Lindgren, State of Minnesota