By Mike Martin for E Magazine
The “eco-schoolhouse” was built after an arson fire destroyed a portable classroom at Grant Elementary in Columbia, Missouri. It’s a 21st century one-room schoolhouse nestled behind a century-old main building named for President Ulysses S. Grant.
The 1,024 square-foot classroom was designed for platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Rain barrels irrigate a student garden; reflective/conductive roofing reduces heating and cooling costs; solar panels generate electricity; and students use desks, chairs and tables made from recycled materials.
Ultra-economical R-24 insulation buffers fireproof drywall, a subtle reminder of the tragedy—and the community it brought together. After the fire, parents donated books and educational aids; students made art and decorations; contractors, building suppliers and architect Nick Peckham—whose granddaughter Nora attended Grant—designed and built the schoolhouse, donating what fire insurance wouldn’t cover—about $250,000 in time and materials.