September 27, 2011: Students from Redding School of the Arts are now housed on a new campus off of Shasta View Drive in Redding that unites children in grades kindergarten through 8th grade who have been taught in two separate locations for years. Strikingly, the campus boasts LEED certification, the US Green Building Council's coveted certification and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
LEED - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. What this means for students at RSA is that they will spend their days in classrooms and other learning spaces flooded with natural light and fresh air and an absence of most toxic emissions caused by paint, carpet, and other synthetics found in new buildings.
The project accommodates approximately 400 students and 60 employees in about 52,000 square feet, in a two-story building that includes classrooms, art rooms, music rooms, a library and information center, and a technology room/piano lab. A key feature of the arts campus is an outdoor assembly area containing 490 seats and offering enclosed dance and drama rooms that can be opened to create performance venues.
Nicholle Uhleman, a student at the school, is excited about the prospect of being in the first class of 8th graders to graduate from the new school. She's a dance enthusiast and loves doing art projects. One of her favorite features of the new school is the non-traditional classrooms that combine indoor and outdoor learning areas. "We'll be able to step outside of our classroom and do messy art projects and just hose it down." Her father, Bob, is equally positive about the new school. "The features are terrific. Every aspect of this is purpose-built for an arts school. Any other facility is just a compromise."
The groundbreaking ceremony and unveiling of the new RSA sign took place on August 20, 2008. The McConnell Foundation built the new facility as a program-related investment and leases it back to RSA. It is structured as a landlord/tenant relationship with a minimum 20-year lease. The Foundation's board and staff spent more than a year researching opportunities for sustainable developments, seeking to build a demonstration project on Foundation-owned property. RSA's need for a new campus and the Foundation's interest in a sustainably built project came together at just the right time. The Foundation board sees this project as an opportunity to build a LEED Platinum-certified school showcasing building and site elements that enhance learning and complement visual and performing arts education. The school will also strive to meet the Collaborative for High Performance School (CHPS) standards.
Jean Hatch, Co-Director of RSA, who wrote the charter 10 years ago along with Co-Director Margaret Johnson, has been looking forward to the new facility., noting "it will allow the mission and vision of RSA to be fully achieved."