Rogue Valley School Honored as High Performance Building

The school’s architects were recognized for their work to incorporate efficient energy strategies.

The Daily Journal of Commerce’s 24th annual TopProjects Awards in Portland recently honored architect Oh Planning + Design for its work designing OYA’s New Bridge High School at Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility in Grants Pass.

The architect earned an honorable mention in the Energy Trust of Oregon High Performance Building Award category. The award celebrates projects that go above and beyond to incorporate efficient energy strategies.

New Bridge, which opened in May, includes numerous features that will help OYA use less water and energy, spend less on utility bills, and protect the local environment. The building is currently targeted for a platinum certification — the highest available — from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Conservation-related features at New Bridge include:

  • Landscaping plants are native and require less water: They will require 1,350,000 fewer gallons of water per year than non-native plantings.
  • Solar panels generate electricity: The 22,236-watt solar array will produce 103.5 million British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy per year, lowering the building’s energy bills.
  • Large windows let in sunlight: Almost 90% of the spaces in the building receive enough daylight to not require electric lighting.
  • All water fixtures are low-flow: They use at least 30% less water than typical fixtures.
  • All light fixtures are LED: The 360+ fixtures last longer, use less energy, and will save an average of $3,000 per year over other bulb types.
  • High-efficiency Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system: The system uses 40% less energy than a typical system.

Additionally, the building was designed to be a teaching tool for youth. Data from the building’s operating systems is tracked and accessible online and on a display at the school’s entrance, and plaques located throughout the school help students learn about sustainable construction design.

New Bridge High School, funded during the 2015 legislative session as part of OYA’s 10-Year Plan for Facilities, was built as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to provide educational and vocational programs for youth. Research shows that incarcerated people who participate in educational and vocational training programs are 43 percent less likely to be arrested for another crime than those who do not.

The new school provides expanded programs for youth in an environment that looks and feels more like a community school, giving students a chance to learn and practice skills in an environment similar to the one they will find when they return to the community. In addition to offering high school diploma, GED, and dual-credit college programs, New Bridge houses programs for manufacturing technology, barbering, and various vocational certificates.

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