Take a hard hat tour of the new "green" school

Imagine calling a 150-acre outdoor facility your classroom? Well, that's going to be the case for more than 900 Palm Beach County elementary students coming this fall.

Pine Jog Executive Director Pat Welch says, "This is one of the most remarkable partnerships in the entire nation. You have a university presence, Florida Atlantic University, the Palm Beach County School District and Pine Jog, all coming together on one campus to work for one thing: the improvement of education of children and families of Palm Beach County."

This fall things will be a lot greener with the opening of the Pine Jog Elementary School being built alongside the Pine Jog Environmental Education Center.

Project Manager Matt Mahoney, Pirtle Construction, says, "This is the first all green building, LEED certified school that's being built in Palm Beach County."

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and rates buildings on five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources and indoor environmental quality.

So from ground breaking, "We are recycling our construction debris. We are trying to purchase as many resources within a 500 mile radius."

To the finish product, "There's dual-level lighting, so if there's enough natural lighting coming into a different classroom or a different area, it will shut off the nearest the window.

"One of the other unique things about this designed was to add a rain water harvesting system. There's about a 10,000 gallon cistern being incorporated for both systems that will be used for irrigation purposes."

This building will show students the importance of reducing their carbon footprint which measures the effect human activities have on the environment.

"The building is designed to be a teaching tool. The opportunity to go outdoors in a 150-acre outdoor classroom filled with natural Florida habitat is the most exciting element of this," says Welch.

Since the project initiated, all new school construction will be LEED certified. Just one more way our area is going green.

You can be a part of this project by helping Pine Jog raise the remaining $1 million it needs to compete the project. Find out more by logging onto Pinejog.FAU.edu. Also, you can join Fox 29's Altogether Green campaign.