Miramonte Goes Green With Eco-Friendly Renovations

Sarah Burnick, Staff Writer

Miramonte has been undergoing extensive construction as a step towards eco-efficiency since the beginning of this summer.

The major projects being worked on throughout the school made for a significant interruption to school facilities and parking lots during the summer months. The construction at Miramonte that started the beginning of summer 2016 and continued through the beginning of the school year has left many students questioning what is actually going on.

“Solar panels… piping… grass… and what are they doing with the big gym?” questioned sophomore Amanda Han, commenting on the barren lawns and dozens of holes surrounded by caution tape around Miramonte.

Associate Principal Jan Carlson put the confusion to rest, explaining that the construction all over the school is to create a more water and energy efficient campus.

“There has been a complete re-doing of old pipes,” said Carlson. “We want [Miramonte] to be much more water efficient.”

Carlson said the school is furthering their eco-friendly renovation by filling the lawns with sod or seed. New garden areas will also be added to the school’s, as of recently, primarily dirt landscape. In addition to the new irrigation systems, solar panels have been built over the parking lot. Every school in the Acalanes Union School District underwent the same project.

“The projects will allow us to substantially reduce our carbon footprint, realize significant savings in general fund operating costs, contribute substantial energy to the ‘grid’ during peak times, and model the use of renewable energy to our students,” said AUHSD Superintendent John Nickerson.

In June of 2015, the AUHSD entered a partnership with the solar energy provider SolarCity. Nickerson said that SolarCity will “finance, design, construct and operate the photovoltaic solar panels and battery products” on each of the District’s campuses. The District estimates that the solar project will save $110,900 in the first year alone and only increase from there. While a few parking spaces were sacrificed, ultimately the project will allow for a significant amount of savings for the district.

Miramonte’s new water and energy efficient systems, as well as the roofing taking place on the gym, have been accompanied by many other additions. The school welcomes two hydration stations, mini computer labs in a handful of classrooms, and a textbook room which Carlson said is unique to Miramonte.

“Summertime was when everything was being ripped up, and now we’re rebuilding an improved school,” said Carlson.