New Eastport School Shoots For Gold Rating

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Eastport’s newest elementary school, which is still under construction, is on track to be the first in the state to earn a gold rating—the second-highest classification a building can receive—from the U.S. Green Building Council for its earth-friendly features, state officials announced this week.

The Tuttle Avenue School, which will officially open its doors to about 350 kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders on Monday, March 3, features solar panels, plenty of windows that let in natural light, and light sensors that adjust automatically depending on the abundance of natural light available.

The roughly 60,000-square-foot school, which is expected to cost about $26 million and is being built behind the Eastport Elementary School in Eastport, is also equipped with five geothermal wells that draw warm water from 160 feet below the surface, reducing the need of furnaces to heat water, Eastport South Manor Superintendent Mark Nocero said on Tuesday.

The Board of Regents approved the school’s registration on Monday, and noted that it will likely be the first on Long Island, and possibly in the state, to earn the gold standard based on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating.

“It reduces our energy costs substantially,” Mr. Nocero said of the school’s features.

He added that the building would not officially receive the certification until after the building has been operational for a time.

“It’s mind-blowing,” he continued, explaining that district administrators, faculty members and students are eager for the official opening.

The district has planned an orientation for the students, who currently attend school in portable classrooms located next to the Eastport Elementary School, for the last week in February, and it will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, February 27. School officials noted that the portable classrooms were installed in the 1980s and were supposed to be only temporary. Children and faculty in the portable classrooms have to walk outside and between those buildings to access the cafeteria or attend physical education classes in the gymnasium.

Mr. Nocero said the Tuttle Avenue School was initially scheduled to open at the start of the school year in September, but was delayed due to Hurricane Sandy last fall.

He pegged the estimated total cost of construction at about $26 million, but noted that upward of 85 percent of that cost will be covered by state aid, a perk the district earned when it merged from two smaller districts a decade earlier.

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