Shingobee Builders, in collaboration with the design team of DSGW Architects and Obermiller Nelson Engineering, has begun construction of a school in Fort Totten, North Dakota, that will be a net-zero energy building, the first of its kind on tribal land in the country. A net-zero facility is an energy-efficient building that produces more energy than it consumes each year.
The school is an Alternative Program / Career Technology Education facility for the Fort Totten Public School District #30. There are other net-zero schools in the United States, but this new school will be the first on tribal land and the first in North Dakota. The new facility will include classrooms, lab space for six teachers, bathrooms, storage areas, and offices. It will be located adjacent to the Four Winds Community School on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Construction is getting under way this month, and is scheduled for completion prior to the 2017-18 school year.
A public presentation about the building was held at the Four Winds High School on October 19 as a kick-off to construction.
Tribal Vice-Chair and School Board Member Douglas Yankton presented information about the new school to the student body and community members.
“The new school will expand the educational experience that students have at Four Winds High School by offering an alternative program and career technology education,” stated Jeff Olson, Superintendent of Fort Totten Public Schools. “This building is about the future. We’re not only preparing our students for the future, but we’re also designing this building for the future by using the earth respectfully and efficiently to power the school.”
There are several features of the building that will contribute to attaining net-zero status. These features include photovoltaic (solar) panels, a ground-source geothermal heating and cooling system, high-efficiency water-to-air heat pumps, energy recovery system for free heating and cooling, variable-speed fans and pumps to minimize excess energy use, occupancy sensors for demand-based lighting, LED lighting, solar tubes for free lighting, specially insulated walls and roof, and triple pane windows.
DSGW is the architect for this project, Obermiller Nelson Engineering (ONE) is responsible for mechanical and electrical engineering, and Shingobee Builders is the construction manager.
Shingobee is also constructing an expansion of the Crow Hill Recreation Center for the Spirit Lake Nation. The project involves addition of a gymnasium, bleachers, and support spaces, and renovation of the existing building. Completion is scheduled for December 2016.
Crow Hill Recreation Center expansion (construction photo, early October)