Green Learning

Mark Biedron and his wife, Gretchen, founded the Willow School to use a hands on approach to a learning curriculum through nature. The environmentally friendly independent school for kindergarten through eighth grade, which opened in 2003, was the first in the U.S. to achieve LEED Gold. The Willow School’s approach to learning quickly took off, and the school was soon in need of more space. The newest addition, known as the Barn, joins the school’s sustainable tradition with a LEED Platinum certification.

Completed in September 2007, the Barn is a 13,000-square-foot
(1,208-m2) building that houses a middle school, dining facility, and performing arts and science center. Similar to Willow School’s main building, the Barn was constructed primarily from salvaged, recycled and rapidly renewable materials while only using ultra-low or zero VOC paints, coatings, sealants and adhesives. Also like the main building, the Barn features a metal roof from Follansbee Steel, Follansbee, W.Va.; approximately 8,000 square feet (743 m2) of TCS II standing-seam roof panels was used for the roof of the Barn. The metal roof alone has sustainable characteristics, but this roof also is designed to harvest rainwater that’s then used to flush toilets within the school.

“Our mission to go green began when we worked with Follansbee during phase one,” explained Biedron, who serves as the school’s director of development and external affairs. “For phase two, we continuously wished for a product that was environmentally friendly, low-maintenance and long-lasting. Our focus was to build the ‘100-year building’ [the barn]. Follansbee was able to provide the necessary long-lasting roofing materials to help achieve our goal.”

“TCS II not only enriches the rustic aesthetic appeal of the Willow School but is also solderable and virtually maintenancefree, which allows for easier maintenance of the new building,” said Edward Thomas, vice president and general manager at Follansbee. “Because it can withstand corrosion and environmental stress, it was the ideal option for the planned longevity of the building.”

Phase three will include the addition of a new 15,000-square-foot
(1,394-m2) classroom building and a 17,000-square-foot (1,579-m2) Health, Wellness and Nutrition Center. Con-struction is slated to begin in late 2009 or early 2010, and both buildings will be built to LEED Platinum standards along with the Cascadia Living Building Challenge Standards, part of the Northwest chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge.

Willow School Phase Two, Gladstone, N.J.

General contractor: Willow School, Gladstone

Architect: Hone + Associates, Lambertville, N.J.

Green/sustainable design consultants: Solid Wood Construction, Gladstone, and Sustainable Growth Technologies, Gladstone

Roofi ng contractor: Strober Roofing Metal Works, Ringoes, N.J.

Metal roof: Follansbee Steel, Follansbee, W.Va.